Manual John the Posthumous

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Narrated by: John McLain. Length: 2 hrs and 27 mins. Publisher's Summary John the Posthumous exists in between fiction and poetry, elegy and history: a kind of novella in objects, it is an anatomy of marriage and adultery, an interlocking set of fictional histories, and the staccato telling of a murder, perhaps two murders. What members say. This is a literary album of a pre-Internet world, focused on physical elements — all of which are tools for either violence or sustenance. Knives, old iron gates, antique houses in flames; Biblical citations, blood and a history of the American bed: the unsettling, half-perceived images, and their precise but alien manipulation by a master of the language will stay with readers.

Its themes are familiar — violence, betrayal, failure — its depiction of these utterly original and hauntingly beautiful. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 3. Friend Reviews.

John the Posthumous by Jason Schwartz

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John the Posthumous and the Curse on Philip the Fair

Oct 10, Fionnuala marked it as abandoned. Because we live in an age when we can kindle a fire under any book we choose and have a lively read as swift as a whisper of wind through a net curtain, I set about lighting this one as soon as I read about it. But no matter how hard I blew, I couldn't get it to take off. I tried adding clumps of knowledge from old books I'd read before, including the bible, and bits of old photographs, but it just wouldn't take.

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It was a fire that was dead before it began. Afterwards, I examined the charred fra Because we live in an age when we can kindle a fire under any book we choose and have a lively read as swift as a whisper of wind through a net curtain, I set about lighting this one as soon as I read about it. Afterwards, I examined the charred fragments. They were all green wood, the older, drier parts of the branches had been methodically chopped away.

Who would do such a thing, I thought? Who would assemble the perfect bonfire and then deliberately remove the very bits that would make it roar? But perhaps this book wasn't meant to roar, or even flicker. Perhaps it has another destination.

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I imagine all the fragments floating in a great cube of ice, so arranged that if you look at it from one angle, you see a four poster bed, from another a blood-soaked sheet, from a third the blank windows of a house, from the fourth a torn snapshot of the narrator's family. I see it as an art object not a narrative. View all 27 comments. Aug 16, Mariel rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: present yourself at the window, now remove yourself from view. Recommended to Mariel by: M. The doorframe disappoints the wall, as the wall disappoints the floor. The mullions divide the yard into nine portions.

But portions - or, if you like, portion - is an unlovely word, Guest and host , for their part, issue from the same root- ghostis. Which means stranger , villain , enemy - though naturally I had believed it to mean ghost. And the figure in the corner, lower right, is neither my daughter nor her hat, but just a paper bag in the grass. What if you were a tarantula any poor spider will The doorframe disappoints the wall, as the wall disappoints the floor.

What if you were a tarantula any poor spider will do as a hostage meal womb for a baby wasp to grow up and make more future killer wasps, just to live on the next you? If you were dragged off, prisoner in some hole, would you think about how unfair it all was, feeding the pain to spite hope? Past spider captive meals feeling it too. I think a lot about fucked up it is, the death of their victims. I've tried to will a sort of hawk-eye view on thforem for some time now. The under water victims of under water spiders will do too. Diving bell cocoons of thought, suspended forever.

Does anyone else ever think about ballooning spiders? What if you were an adult spider making the conscious choice to fly this way, knowing you might not come back?

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The life on the end of the bee sting sword. That bees kill themselves for a fuck you to somebody, or is it self defense. What ways to go. I don't have this mind picture of a group of bugs or of individual bugs. It must happen.


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There must be one little guy somewhere knowing he's going to die and doing it anyway. Some ant caught in the shit work of "ants are supposed to be slaves. That's how it works" and maybe there's forever of proof backing it up. A this is the way the world works in I thought this was the way the world works. A novel in the 'verse. What did it look like when other men were cuckolded in your place across space and time?

If they felt it too then it's wrong for you. Poetry in some kind of justice. Hey, have you ever heard that everyone is connected? Mosaics of the ant's life view on the farm there's a lot of room to run, they say, right before they kill you. They make the face of the queen bee.

Have you ever felt that it must be really fucking wrong, that there must be someone to appeal to, if you only knew what it was all called? So what did it look like when they took the knife and stuck it in the back that looked like those other backs. Standing to the storms. It is like having to think before every breath. Forget and you will die. It is a lot of work to believe it. If everyone is connected and this is how the world works this is what it looked like, this is what it is called in murder and adultery.

It is work for me like yous and theys to think about cuckolds or adultery. Someone has to be the womb spider and someone's gotta be the hawk wasp. I don't want anyone to be either someone should ask, is there any love it should look like? Every little breath you take in the some kind of justice. Carve the beating heart out and ugly outside of you and they and becomes me I see anguish in the I know what is connected.

I don't know how anyone has words like "cuckold" for a place a man married to a cheater should have been something else, or that people don't just fall out of love and in love with someone else every day. It isn't eating you outside of you, if you could still walk. But I feel lost in running my fingertips against all the walls and all of the places there are holes where things "should be". Like when everyone is connected. I know what it feels like, if not the "should be".

I don't feel a hole where there should be someone who loves me, or rather angry that it won't happen. I feel ashamed to walk around all the other people, as if I'm not one of them, because I don't have friends. I'll be thirty-four in a little over a month and I don't know if I've ever belonged around anyone. It is hard to muster up any kind of that shouldn't happen when I don't believe I'm like other people. I feel this beating behind the history in John the Posthumous, this conviction from what came before, and I was moved by it as a search for proof more than in belief.

I don't believe in a make it happen but the pain in the search was so much I couldn't breathe. A woman in the window, a daughter never seen. Knives and the heads put by them in buckets. The locusts or some kind of tapestry depicting cave man's prophetic fires. It could get so ugly. I wouldn't have cared at all about anyone being cuckolded. It isn't a shame to me, or a definition. That happens. But the finial and the bed, remember, later became theirs, or, better still, were lost to us- a less noisome phrase, this, even if it neglects the fire.

Evidently hearts once required a burnt deck, like heartsette, which added a wound, and like matrimony, for the lonely- but unlike blind girl, in which the hearts were marked out. Even the earliest primers compare the heart's shape to a fist or to a hand waving goodbye. Somewhere between the fist and the wall of the stilled beating heart is Jason Schwartz not writing to a you or a they. It's something I don't know how to name it. Somewhere, somewhere someone was you and they are no more.

Kevin John Hernando posthumous degree

I believe in the longing. It is left on the floor, in the bed, a rumple of clothes. Fallen faces. I lost my breath over the creepy crawlings on the walls. The witnesses of critters and trying to say we are only human. It isn't convincing and that killed me because I have always heard we are all in it together. In the flying and that did you know so many are named wrong? Silk worms are caterpillars and Hessian flys were wasps in sheeps clothing. You never know where the knife is going to come from. It is that kind of book. I like that kind of book because I don't belong anywhere, and I think about insects all of the time too, at least, and the big parts that don't make sense are materials of insects.

I am pretty miserable writing this review. I wished, in my head, to be free on the little parts. There has to be days when there's a "before" the dark times. Schwartz can go back to that, knife in hand, in the blue walls, in the witnesses. I'm not him so I can say he did it but I can't do it on the outside.

It was so ugly the unfair parts, too. I feel this kind of empathy for parts I can't see, like spiders. View all 20 comments. May 31, Brian rated it it was amazing Recommended to Brian by: Proustitute. This novel has made me a believer in time travel. Sent to us from the 25th century - when humans have realized that language is woefully lacking in its ability to impart lucidity and idioms have failed us — this codex contains words in an assembly that baffles our 21st century mind. But it is beautiful the way that bird song and whale music is so. Inability to translate, to understand meaning with complete clarity, does not impact its weight.

A rood, in England, is a quarter acre — but may evoke This novel has made me a believer in time travel. A rood, in England, is a quarter acre — but may evoke, in the New World, animals in the kill. The execution of this novel structure is nothing shy of amazing and flawless. Crack teams of learned men and women of letters should devote their time into the unraveling of the book to plum its deeper meanings, its tenuous connections to both the text itself and to the world it references.

Guest and host, for their part, issue from the same root - ghostis. Which means stranger, villain, enemy — though naturally I had believed it to mean ghost. Friends M. Sarki and Proustitute both made me aware of this treasure. Their excellent reviews here on Goodreads should be read after reading the novel. And please remember - when you read this fabulous text, do not to become frustrated if clarity eludes you. I am still very much in the dark and yet feel inspired by what Schwartz has done with our language. Now I just need to see if he will lend me his time machine.

View all 8 comments. May 31, M. Sarki rated it it was amazing Shelves: to-read-again-soon-before-dying , 5-star-wonders. The importance of being Jason Schwartz is primarily because we need him. There is no one writing in the English language today that is on the level and measure of Jason Schwartz, and that even includes that McCarthy fellow. Yes, Cormac writes a strain more manageable than the virus that exists in John the Posthumous , but the works are both biblical. A clever writer on the periphery might think that a mere reference book laid out beside you could produce something of the sort these pages have lis The importance of being Jason Schwartz is primarily because we need him.

A clever writer on the periphery might think that a mere reference book laid out beside you could produce something of the sort these pages have listed, in order, between the covers of this OR book. Merely compiling lists fail to manage their dance on the page in this case a waltz as the words of Jason Schwartz do. I have always likened him to a poet of the first rank and that is probably the reason I enjoy reading his work. To be fair I suppose I will have to give credit where credit is due. Gordon Lish found Schwartz first.

REVIEW: John the Posthumous by Jason Schwartz

If you happen to read the full page praise at the very front of the book you can see the Lish that I am talking about. For only the right reason he might just explain. Schwartz never, in any story I have ever read by him, explains anything. He is long-suffering in that regard and he makes it very hard on the lesser readers among us. It helps to have an open mind.


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And reading Schwartz is no guarantee you will come out of the experience feeling any smarter than when you first went in. You will have what for some of us is called an abundance of feeling. John the Posthumous by Jason Schwartz is a series of connections in digression. Historical fact, academic and theological reference books, all seem to be sitting at the side of his desk or writing table in case, and he does, wish to consult them and enter his findings and tabulations into his text.

Of course, there are also the fictions which when connected appear to also be of some fact and enter also into his reporting. But Schwartz is not The Nightly News and he rarely resembles any news anchor we have ever gotten comfortable with on TV. I am not sure that Jason Schwartz can even be trusted.

Electric Literature , September 26th Full Stop Magazine , September 24th Litro Magazine , September 23rd Publishers Weekly , August 19th Biblioklept , July 26th OR Books. Corinthians begins with the salutation, and not, as I had thought, a description of locusts on a hilltop.

Or even beetles in a forest, a woods, a copse —— on pine trees, for instance, as behind our house. I imagine axles and a wagon wheel, somehow, and then an animal —— its shriek, I should think, rather like the sound a child makes, crying out at night. Or perhaps they died of fright. The plumage was blue, yes, but I am partial to the rabbits in the bracken. The organs and the bones, anyway —— though these are soon replaced with hay and straw.

The latter is black —— I hate to admit how this still gives my heart a start —— and the garment white. When the canopy depicts figures of the victim, or victims, the cords are red to indicate places of contagion.