Spirit! Reveal thyself!

Excuse my dust.

Spirit! Reveal thyself!

If you want to, you can pick me out of any crowd, these days. I am the little one in the corner who did not think that the The Corrections was a great novel, nor even a good one. It is true that I paid it the tribute of tears, but that says nothing, for I am one who weeps at elections.

Spirit… Reveal thyself!

Oh for the love of a sealed casket: Mrs. Parker!

And what have you come to tell us, Mrs. Parker?

Only that the advertisement I’d received promised an eternal afterlife, and yet here I am again like a virus.

But surely, Spirit, you bring us wisdom from beyond!

I did attempt to pass the time with a witty little novel, recently: something called This Book is Not for You by Daniel A. Hoyt on a little, unpronounceable press we’ll call Dzanc, if only we can ever learn how. This wild ride of a book reminds us that it’s not the tragedies that kill us; it’s the messes.

I must confess that the last time I encountered such a rude title with one sweeping, liquid gesture, I tossed it out of my twelfth-story window. But Mr. Hoyt’s voice sufficiently stilled my hand until I felt myself titillated and twitter pated and all around acidulated. So you see my confidence in my judgment is scarcely what it used to be. To that point, I cannot, with the slightest sureness, tell you if Mr. Hoyt’s new novel will sweep the country, like Main Street, or bring forth yards of printed praise…My guess would be that it might not, creeping forth like the finest small fish swimming in a school of sardines, but my God should it ever. Keep in mind that other guesses which I have made in the past year have been that Hillary would carry Wisconsin, that there might emerge a great dramatic critic for an American newspaper, and that I would have more than twenty-six dollars in the bank on March 1st, so I’ll leave Mr. Hoyt’s career in more capable and, hopefully, corporeal hands. You can certainly do your part by buying a copy.

I feel Daniel A. Hoyt’s little book is too tremendous a thing for praises. To say of it, ‘Here is a magnificent novel’ is rather like gazing into the Grand Canyon and remarking, ‘Well, well, well; quite a slice.’ Doubtless you have heard that this book is not pleasant. Neither, for that matter, is the Atlantic Ocean. On the first page we’re greeted with a stern warning by a Kansas anarchist – of all things – who finds it so nice he repeats it mercilessly throughout the title and the entire book. But that’s part of the fun, to keep touching on a refrain so that the whole band keeps swinging. Left to his own devices, our narrator, whose beloved mentor got herself murdered and whose satchel contains enough dynamite to blow up the entire English faculty at Kansas University, certainly doesn’t seem mentally sufficient for narrative responsibility. He doesn’t seem sufficient for very much at all, but Hoyt knows a capable mule when he spies one, and he saddles the idiosyncratic and inarticulate Neptune (I’m so very  grateful Hoyt chose that name over Uranus) like a narrative beast of burden. Neptune perfectly illustrates the only dependable law of life – everything is always worse than you thought it was going to be.

The author finds a way to marshal the gritty, earthy and unseemly qualities of his narrator without succumbing to them. What we’re left with is a propulsive, profane, smart and very often hilarious work that compels you follow this ignoble Caliban the way we might follow that other low Midwesterner; Huckleberry Finn. As they say I say, A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika.

Thank you Spirit. We leave you to your repose.

Our interaction has inspired me to ask for a favor. Will someone find a chisel and some courage and quickly change my headstone to read: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.

Oh, and please never call me at home again!


Daniel A. Hoyt, This Book is Not For You


Publication Date: November 7 2017

Hardcover: 288 pages

ISBN: 978-1-945814-34-1

Product Not Yet Released

Orders ship in October


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