‘A thoughtful meander through the interstices of reality and fiction’ – 10:04 by Ben Lerner

With the new Ben Lerner now out in paperback, we revisit our review from January of this year. Enjoy!


1004Say you’re a writer – a poet, if you’re totting up outputs, but a poet whose sole novel did well, really well as far as the review-rankings of the literati go, a writer who’s since had a story in The New Yorker, a writer who’s being nudged towards toning down the PoMo self-awareness shtick for novel two, but who’s being offered ‘a strong six figure advance’ if you can pull it off: ‘describe faces’, they’re telling you, make your protagonist ‘undergo a dramatic transformation’. So, say, then, you’re Ben Lerner, and you’re producing the book to follow Leaving the Atocha Station and you’ve had that TNY story – which they’re making you shoehorn into the new novel – and you’re not, as anyone who’s read the first novel will guess, overly predisposed to writing the kind of book where faces are meticulously sketched and protagonists develop through five-act structures…

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