Jaffe evokes … tears of laughter as he artfully fashions absurdity after absurdity into a … gleaming template of contemporary American life.
Each of the fifteen fictions in False Positive originated as a nationally known newspaper story, which Harold Jaffe has “treated” to bring to its prosaic surface a maniacal subtext. The original stories cover the familiar American postmodern grotesquerie: high school mass murders; sexual molestations; rock star suicides; internet police; serial killers on the loose. Jaffe enters each published version, and through rearrangement, nuanced rewriting, and strategic interpellations, exposes the host text’s latent madness. Thus re-armed, Jaffe’s prosthetic creation is released into our culture to do its unsettling work. Jaffe’s fictive “treatment” of these everyday nightmares is ambitious and startling. He embeds his found story in his own heightened versions, leaving the traces of the original text alongside his own, or insinuates the ghostly presence of journalese within his own deadpan lines. As The San Diego Union has said of Jaffe’s earlier fiction, False Positive is more “exquisite chaos from the master word processor of our generation.”
These uncannily skewed para-documentary fictions burrow into a reader’s consciousness like viral worms of great subtlety and cunning to explode the dangerous illusion of safety. Jaffe’s is a necessary and bold strategy that marks out new territory for fiction itself.
Mass murder! … Germ warfare! … Islamic extremism! … You’ve read it all before, now read it again here … I enjoyed Jaffe’s False Positive hugely.
Jaffe evokes … tears of laughter as he artfully fashions absurdity after absurdity into a … gleaming template of contemporary American life. Marvelous stuff.
Something’s going on here, low-key, cool, and disturbing. These subtle displacements of desire fix to your memory, and with their humor and pathos, gnaw there a long time.
Sex for the Millennium
Sex in the year 2001?
The body pierced and tattooed with commerce.
The extremest deviations fetishized for profit.
Technology virtualizing then policing desire.
The citizenry sleeping their dreamless sleep.
With his unerring ear for dialogue, transgressive high style, deadpan comedy, and narrative velocity, Harold Jaffe elaborates his harsh millenarian prophecy while mocking it in a satire as fierce as Swift or Rabelais. At the same time, Jaffe seeks, as always, to uncover the principle of resistance that will keep us sensitive, sexual, and critical of a culture which would otherwise neuter us.
An intricately connected series of texts, virtually a novel, these twelve “extreme tales” from guerrilla master storyteller Harold Jaffe will reverberate through our reading, infect our dreams, and bleed into our workaday.
Diverse, direct, adventurous, erudite. Sex for the Millenium is a bold exploration of extreme intimacy through many genres, voices, and rare windows. A smorgasboard of desire, I enjoyed thoroughly.
Jaffe’s is a necessary and bold strategy that marks out new territory for fiction itself.
A collection of twelve stories which are set in post-industrial society, populated by sexual outlaws, serial killers, techno-freaks, gender benders, rogue cops, and punk anarchists.
Straight razor — Latex glove — Counter couture — Necro — Stalker — Camo, dope & videotape — F2M — Serial/cereal — Carjack — Things to do during time of war — Invisible man — Sex guerrillas.
Jaffe’s intense stereoscopic visions encompass a powerful and contagious sense of mystery, absurdity, and moral outrage. He has an eye for the marvelously, mythically grotesque, and ear attuned to every ghostly voice.
Mourning Crazy Horse
Twenty intersecting tales of estranged love, poltical oppression and the human comedy. In “Mourning Crasy Horse,” the Sioux chief’s betrayal and final passion and counterpointed with a contemporary American’s journey across the United Stated. “Underbelly (1)” details the bizarre goings on of a yogi who falls in with a pornographer and his band of outcasts. “Moctezuma’s Dreamer” investigates the relationship between enforced deprivation and art, whereas “The Artificial Son” is concerned with the deprivation which promotes kinship, union. “Swede” is the first of several narratives in which Rosen the humpbacked dwarf practices social commitment on the unwary.
In Harold Jaffe’s fiction I always sense that jolt of awareness that comes from seeing the raw need. Jaffe’s people find themselves in the wrong place for what they need, always. They don’t even have words to express what they need. Jaffe gives us the words they would speak, if only they could, and he expects us to do something about it.
If you like your narrative or your sex vanilla, you should probably go somewhere else right now.
Farther east begins the familiar grief. Walking up 4th Street into the Lower East Side. Shards of history pricking the devastation. The old Jews gone. Or going. Uprooted Puerto-Ricans in their dolorous tenement flats, or leaning over fire-escapes seeking out sun. Not finding it. Nor finding the thread (or chain) yoking them to their Jewish near-gone brother. A different kind of sun, though it give a similar light. Mole’s love would be to join light to … light:
Mole turns left through a fringe of Chinatown, as there are Chinese “towns” throughout the world. Secretive like the Jews, they work, work against the great void in their chest — which is the vast country they’ve gone from. Not, finally, much different from the desert of the Jews, nor from the Puerto-Ricans’ island sun. Nor from the sign of the heart between the eyes: the black American’s Africa.