Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What is Dexter Palmer reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Dexter Palmer, author of The Dream of Perpetual Motion.

His entry begins:
Recently I finished The Bascombe Novels by Richard Ford, a collection of three novels that includes The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land. I picked it up because I’m trying to read fiction that’s outside my comfort zone—when it comes to late-twentieth-century writing I tend to prefer postmodernist comedies like Thomas Pynchon’s novels, and I wanted a change of pace. I really enjoyed Ford’s trilogy, perhaps even more than I liked John Updike’s similar project with the character of Rabbit Angstrom—taken together, the three novels are a master class in dynamic character development. Over time the character of Frank Bascombe, sportswriter turned real-estate agent, comes to seem almost like a real person, due to all the carefully chosen details that Ford uses to depict Bascombe’s habits and thoughts, as well as the endearingly meandering interior monologues that capture Bascombe’s attempts to...[read on]
Among the early praise for The Dream of Perpetual Motion:
“Palmer’s dazzling debut explodes with energy and invention on every page.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“An intoxicatingly ambitious debut novel that somehow seems to encapsulate everything the author believes about everything…. A novel of ideas that holds together like a dream.”
Kirkus (starred review)

“[A] gorgeously surreal first novel… part farce, part act of willed convergence—an attempt to blur the lines between our reality and the fantastic imagined world.”
—Matthew Shaer, Bookforum

“Tender and sui generis: a steampunk The Tempest with the grim and rippling beauty of a fairy tale. Dexter Palmer is an ambitious writer, with vast reach toward the exploration of big ideas, among them what it means to create, the limits of the human body, and the uses and inadequacies of language. The marvelous kicker being, of course, that he has the moxie to do so in prose that sings.”
—Lauren Groff, New York Times bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton

“A strange, passionate, enthralling first novel, a novel which is itself a kind of perpetual motion machine—constantly turning, giving off more energy than it receives, its movement at once beautiful and counterintuitive.”
—Kevin Brockmeier, New York Times bestselling author of The Brief History of the Dead
Writers Read: Dexter Palmer.

--Marshal Zeringue