Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues


Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues
by Ronald Sukenick

Paperback
1979
Price: $12.00

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Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues traces the movements of a group of exiles caught in the "accelerated shatter" of a contemporary society. Under the "new conditions" the revolution has failed and the conglomerates have taken over, while individuals skirt every nameless abyss - of language, of love, of sexuality, of loss - inside themselves. Using an original from resembling the rhythmic variations and repetitions of a long song, and with the brilliant sense of play typical of his previous fiction, Suckenick's "talking blues" follows these characters as they try to juggle with their own psyches and the several systems of language, economics, politics, and technology that conspire to control and destroy their personal lives.


"Sukenick's prose style is fast, nervy, exciting, like Mailer and even Kerouac at their best."—Southern Humanities Review


"A kind of cross between the Sterne of Tristram Shandy and the Thomas Pynchon of V (and for my money more readable than Pynchon), Sukenick combines fantasy and parody and satire brilliantly." —Houston Post


"The finest new fictionists - Sukenick, Kosinski, Reed, Gardner, and Barthelme - have produced fictive veils which insist both that the world can only be known through the imagination, and also certainly that it must be known." —Jay Martin


"There is obviously a very accomplished writer at play-work here … What Sukenick is after is … the way into some 'secret language,' which will open up old magics and new possibilities not currently inscribed in out texts." —Tony Tanner


"Quick now, read him before he invents again!" —New York Times Book Review


Excerpt


Drecker felt like he had awakened on the other side of the wind he felt like he had died and come back as a ghost wandering among dead flies and the hulks of old rowboats the remains of last night's dinner with Veronica still on the table shrinking from contact with surfaces an inhabitant of a parallel universe not quite the in sync with this one he thought of the sloop slapping in its slip and of calling off his appointments for the morning of the sails flapping into the wind and booming out as he came about toward the high sea for absolutely nowhere where he belonged it was a strange feeling he became aware of this morning not a new feeling but a strange one that had been inside him growing and that he had just this morning started to recognize when he got out of bed Veronica already gone looked at the overflowing ash trays and the empty glasses and said hello to it for the first time as every man he supposed must one day that basically his life was over that is that it would go on but that nothing now would change that he was on the other side of something of himself that units for him were no longer emerging but receding into the stale chiaroscuro of grey mornings and lonely fucks knowing how little one is oneself how much one's fate is mated with the world knowing why one does what one does but doing it the self in mourning watching the progress of its ghost better to set sail into nothingness than enter the quiet companionship of people waiting to die he would wash his ghost this morning and dress it and polish its shoes and send it out into the world with instructions to be nice to everybody maybe people would be kind to it in return pet it give it dinner make love to it and pay it compliments gorge it with life so that by the end of the evening he might even be fond of it again