A Book of Nightmares

A Book of Nightmares

by Neil Azevedo

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A Book of Nightmares follows generally though not specifically a previous book entitled These Details in Preference to Nothing. It is an account of the narrator's perceptions while witnessing and trying to understand his own breakdown juxtaposed with a friend and talented songwriter deteriorating into an increasingly poisonous addiction. The story opens in his friend's hospital room. Like its predecessor it seeks truth and epiphany as is in the veins of Becket, Joyce, Pirandello, Proust, but also finds inspiration in and echoes such musicians as John Cage, Throbbing Gristle, Eliane Radigue, Steve Roach, Gianluigi Gasparetti, Swans, or Nurse with Wound, those iconoclasts that spend their imaginations building beautiful and relevant things. Much of the imaginative discourse is derived from the Residents' imagery and mythology. It is poetic, vacillating between a meditative tone and a jarring, abrasive one, and eschews traditional plot-driven conventions in order to search for truth within moments, and sometimes in language (sound?) itself. It is written in panels, that is, details illumined and explored for meaning and exposition. Each panel is set apart but works in relation to those around it. Some of the panels are set in italics and explore dreams that relate back to and give depth and context to the panels that study the exposition of the story. Understanding happens almost entirely in the imagination except of course that it doesn't. The characters generally have stylized names in order to keep the focus of the prose situational and not diverge into simple (mere?) personality. It eschews traditional rules of punctuation in order to grasp primal thought at its most authentic and sincere utterance. This book can be difficult at first but it is worth the struggle.

Introduction by Cosey Fanni Tutti, legendary performance artist and founding member of Throbbing Gristle: "Nightmares never seem to make sense when we try to describe them. Neil's genius is that he's written a book in a way that puts you back in that mindset by tapping into the primeval in all of us as a kind of catalyst for the telling of this story. This is a story told in the way that we live out life changing events - it's full of movement. It steps us back, sideways, takes us into seeming irrelevance - maybe as a means of escapism, and all by unpunctuated expertly crafted emotionally evocative (and) beautiful sequences of words. It's akin to poetry, or song lyrics at times. Words are used rather like musical notes, arranged in a sensitive, sometimes aggressive ways, constructing and deconstructing, effectively facilitating your own unique 'nightmare reading' of this story. The words are a means to an end, elements which collectively create a composition, the purpose of which is intrinsic to its completeness... You should approach this book by abandoning any established preconceptions of the role of narrative or role of the reader. Passive reading has no place here, only a willingness to open your mind and follow the seductive stream of consciousness flow of words. We are trained to read in such a way that we try and make sense of the construct of words, analyzing and assimilating as we go. But here our train of thought is repeatedly undermined - fucked up. What's really wonderful is that by subsuming the narrative in this way Neil creates a collaborative reading experience, one that takes you outside the book at the same time as locking you into it, making you question the unfolding events and characters as they emerge from the unexpected. There's enough to allow the reader to reference from personal experience, which then assists connecting with that which is beyond the norm. And there's plenty of that. This book consumes you and spits you out at the end with a new sense of extreme possibilities."

"...a surrealistic and psychological fantasy for the reader through the corridors, the recesses of the experience of the mind." –Jarboe

Product Details

BN ID: 2940148906452
Publisher: William Ralph Press
Publication date: 11/05/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 590,253
File size: 195 KB

About the Author

Neil Azevedo's first book, Ocean, was published by Grove Press in 2005. A book of rock ‘n’ roll trivia, Fan, was published by William Ralph Press under the pseudonym Roland McAlsberg in 2007. His first book of prose, and the first book in this trilogy, These Details in Preference to Nothing: Isabel, is also available electronically from William Ralph Press. A Book of Nightmares is the second. The third, Ruin, will be available soon. In addition to books, Neil has published poems and articles in such magazines as The New Criterion, First Things, The Gettysburg Review, The Antioch Review, Image, The Western Humanities Review, The Journal, Prairie Schooner, Drunken Boat, The New York Times and The Paris Review where he won the Bernard F. Conners Prize For Poetry in 1998. He currently lives in Omaha, Nebraska where he reads, reclusively spends time with his three children, and from time to time directs the vinyl reissue label Drastic Plastic Records.

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