In Remedia: A Picaresque
In Remedia: A Picaresque, Michael Joyce is back and he's doing what I think is his finest work. Joyce somehow manages to create surrealist, realist tale of both the failures and possibilities in seeing and feeling what's technically there, and not there. The sentences are patiently drawn. Joyce's rendering of scene is absolutely breath-taking. Remedia: A Picaresque, welcomes us into a lushness, a specificity and a fleshy spectacle I haven't read in a novel in years. This is what loving, curious, genius looks like.
Remedia: A Picaresque is a roving fearless novel in love with lostness and relentlessly seeking the borders between illusion and reality. How malleable are our names, our loves, our powers? How is solitary perception different from perception in unison? How might a door become a portal? If "the world's a sort of trick" then the relationship between perception and creation is rendered visible like "a diaphanous sleeper . . . like a pool of white mist" or "vertiginous space." Joyce's text conjures elusive territory impossible to map. Vision becomes not just what we see with our eyes, but all that lodges itself in the inner eye--accompanying a traveler. This book is a potent and wonderful reminder that ordinary consciousness always has the potential to veer into the extraordinary.
Count on Michael Joyce to reinvent the genre of the picaresque novel in a mode suited to the 21st century! With a light touch and sure sense of prose rhythm, he introduces a leitmotif of randomly appearing doorways, thresholds into and out of the world, to puncture the narrative space of this engaging novel. Scenes appear within scenes as the tales unfold in true keeping with the genre that recounts of a hero's progress. The sequence of events is made to make sense by sheer deftness of Joyce's skill as a narrator and his willingness to use the unexpected as a structuring device, as well as an excuse to delight. Making sense of the past through the telling of his tales, Joyce offers his readers a fresh experience of a classic form filled with contemporary references.
A Hagiography of Heaven and Vicinity
A Hagiography of Heaven and Vicinity is Michael Joyce at his most linear and intellectual. In this collection of prose poems and poetry, he is at times as intellectually rigorous and theologically inquisitive as T. S. Eliot, and yet his work reads as contemporary as anyone writing now...The poems are philosophical, impersonal, allusive, reflective, brilliant, erudite, and yet very much of our time
Foucault, in Winter, in the Linnaeus Garden
Foucault, in Winter, in the Linnaeus Garden is a masterful work of introspective beauty. Its layers of meaning cascade across its pages in recursive waves of polysemous speech. The text is at once concerned with the emotional truth of its characters' experiences and with the lived truth of Foucault's philosophy. Joyce achieves all of this with a deft hand, a multilingual pen, and an ear for what we mean when we speak and how we speak when we mean.
(The Public, Buffalo)
The novel affords a compelling meditation on what we might call the nexus of madness, philosophy, and literature, one that conveys a productive and troubled time for Foucault with an intensity and artfulness befitting of one of the most artful philosophers of the twentieth century.... Everything about Joyce's Foucault is alluring, and his characterization will seduce the philosopher's devotees and doubters alike.
(Electronic Book Review)
Oscillation is a key component of the novel's structure and, in a larger sense, is related to states of absence and presence, linguistic or otherwise... [and] absence looms large in Foucault in Winter... [which] manages to interweave intimate details of passionate relationships with kernels of Foucault's thought...
(American Book Review)
This is an emotional, transportive novel that recalls a time of literary passion. It is a work that begs to be read aloud, regardless of its challenging polylinguality; to be heard, felt and absorbed...Foucault, in Winter, in the Linnaeus Garden floats between ideas and language, madness and civilization, and, in the process, finds emotional gravity.
(New Orleans Review)
"What seemed to be letters on the surface are actually blocks of sentences turning into music. It's an opera in three languages: Swedish, English, and French. The Swedish appears like a doorstop to remind us where we are. English sentences abruptly burst into French. ... It's glossolalia. It's an opera waiting to be performed. The novel is smart, and beautiful [and] keeps a certain kind of intelligence alive on the market."