The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending: A Surrealist Novel Written in Minimal Squares

Friday, October 22, 2010 § 0

Essay by David Detrich
                                                                                                                                                              This year (2011) I am working on The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending, a Surrealist novel that is written in minimal squares of poetic prose that form a symmetrical typographic design. This novel is innovative in visual appearance, with a metafictional awareness of  characterization and dialogue, and as the micronarrative which describes a waterfall with red hair who visits to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan begins, the novel becomes a surreal dialogue written with a subtle sense of humor. The literary characters hike the nature trails along the Iron River, and sit in the kitchen during a cool November as the narrator, David, decides to write an innovative novel based on a minimalist typographic design. The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending is an example of a theoretical novel, where the characters discuss literary criticism, avant garde trends in modern art, and literary poetics, with numerous allusions to writers, poets, artists, and essayists. 

     The convergence of several narrative lines from the narrator's other books-in-progress gives the novel a self-reflexive inter(text)uality, with other narrative lines converging on the surface of the unpunctuated text. The novelist works at his desk while looking out the window, so that this becomes the scene of writing, where the narrator attempts to defend his privacy from invasive perspectives. His roommates add further mini-characterizations to the novel, with the arrival of a black kitten Inky who represents the philosophical ink of the printing press. What begins as a simple portrait has transformed into a dialogue which continues throughout the novel, with scenes from Santa Cruz, Big Sur, and the demonstrations of Paris 2010, which have become a form of world wide deconstruction in defense of human rights.

from The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending
A Surrealist Novel by David Detrich

     I have included a Note on Reading to guide the reader through the book, which is composed of minimal squares that are read in a pattern. The top row of minimal squares can be read from left to right, and then the two bottom ones from left to right. The convergence of texts begins here, with a reference to Innovative Fiction, a collection of essays, translations, poetry and fiction from the literary journals which I edited.

     One of the themes of this novel is the May Day Celebration 2010 in Santa Cruz, and the demonstrations in Paris. The rights of the people should be honored, and there is a trend throughout the world to demonstrate for democracy and freedom. The two characters in The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending discuss contemporary culture, with an extended analysis of the theory of the novel. The narrator imagines a classroom, and guides the student reader with a simple synopsis of the plot. The abstract characterization of the novelist and the waterfall with red hair also implies a Surrealist esthetic, where the characters often resemble paintings, pastel drawings, film images, or time lapse chronology. This is an innovative novel of 21st Century America, with scenes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Big Sur, and concludes with a cross country drive.

     The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending has many texts converging on the surface of the page, beginning with a tribute to Maurice Roche, where the child/author recalls the influence of the avant garde novels which inspired his youth. Novels such as CodeX introduce the theme of ancient civilizations, and the convergence theme of the Mayan prophecy, a motif that Ronald Sukenick introduces in his novel 98.6, the legend of the ancient Caja. 
     I have continued the theme of the freedom of the writer in The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending, while considering the narrative strategies of Raymond Federman, whose The Voice in the Closet influenced this novel. While reading The Voice in the Closet I decided to write a novel that became The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending. It is written in the tradition of the American innovative novel, and has a typographic design that conveys the micronarrative of the waterfall with red hair's visit,  and mini-portraits of other characters in this Upper Peninsula setting.

     The simple plot has metamorphosized into a poetic dialogue, similar to André  Breton's Soluble Fish, and this is a trend that I have continued through all of my novels, writing with a high degree of Surrealism and abstraction. The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending is an innovative metafiction which transforms into a series of art images that convey are a poetic vision, and are meant to be filmed. The reader can imagine digital animation, time lapse photography, and abstract textures which compose the characterizations.

     Surrealism is the constant theme of this novel, with allusions to many relevant texts. The characters transform throughout the novel into various painterly abstractions, or Surrealist objects, and become visual metaphors for a series of conceptual themes, and using a metafictional technique discuss the theory of the novel in the poetic dialogue. The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending is written with a painterly esthetic, that might suggest erotic abstract paintings, and reaches a climax at the center of the symmetrical structure. The novel concludes with a cross country drive, with memories that try to create the mood of a universal season.



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