Recommendation #4: Frank
Or, really, just all of R.M. Berry’s stuff. It starts with Plane Geometry and Other Affairs of the Heart, ramps up to Leonardo’s Horse, then hits with The Dictionary of Modern Anguish. Each brilliant. His short story “Metempsychosis” has been, along with VALIS and COL49 [The Crying of Lot 49], probably the most influential, for me. In the sense of this is a thing I’m always trying to pull off, each time I sit down to write.
Frank, as Chiasmus Press describes it:
FRANK is R.M. Berry’s “unwriting” of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It tells the story of Frank Stein, distant cousin of Gertrude, who, in revolt against southern racism, succumbs to the siren song of linguistics, inventing from language a life of his own. But in creating a new life, Frank revives an old plot, giving birth to a monstrography.
An excerpt from a Frank interview:
“The ghosts of every story and poem and idea and argument ever written or thought or sung or screamed actually did inhabit me, always had. They were called words.”