I’m just starting with ebooks and self publishing. A print version of This Guy, was first published by Spuyten Duyvil in 2006. A print version of my second novel Tortoise, was published by Calamari Press in 2008.
I’ve been writing fiction since 1988. To this end, I have worked in every menial position available in the food service industry, have tended bar at the second smallest pub in London, The Swan, lost and found files for the Bank of Paris in London, taught Berbers the Beatles on the edge of the Sahara, taught immigrants of all stripes the present perfect in Chicago and Milwaukee, been mistaken for a computer whilst conducting phone surveys, been mistaken for an asshole whilst answering complaint letters for a health insurance company, taught writing, creative writing, business writing, developmental writing, reading, Russian literature and on one occasion, algebra. I am currently house-husbanding and teaching The Art of Fiction at the New York Institute of Technology. I live in Abu Dhabi with my wife, the poet, Lisa Isaacson, and our two lovely daughters, Frances and Cecily.
on July 02, 2011 :
I'm completely floored by this novel. I don't even know where to begin to describe just how much I loved it. James Lewelling's This Guy is a masterpiece of insanity. It is far too easy to fall into the many cliches of insanity, but Lewelling does an absolutely amazing job of presenting an insane cast and at the same time making the reader doubt their own sanity.
The plot of this guy is pretty simplistic, but the way that it is told is incredibly deep. The narrative has the same sort of feel Tristram Shandy. The dreamlike plot does a wonderful job of holding the reader's attention, and the reveals are all done so subtly that nothing feels out of place.
The characters are incredibly confusing, but not in a bad way. The confusion of who is who, and what they're names are plays remarkably well with the overall feel of the book. It's rare to find a book that is told in first person this well. All of the characters fill out bits of the human psyche in ways that are hard to express. The work is clearly filled with metaphors and allusions, but none of them feel forced. This is the kind of work a person could delve into looking for literary ideas, or a reader could read purely for enjoyment.
The theme of insanity, or more specifically sense of self, is what drives this story. What starts out as a simple story about this guy coming up with a plan for his neighbor, folds in on itself over and over again asking the question who is this guy's neighbor. Who is this guy? Who is the narrator? Where does a person's sense of self begin, and where does it end? The cast of characters interact with one another in ways that only further the questions. Nothing is ever really answered, but nothing really has to be.
This is the kind of book that everyone should read. It is an incredible work.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)