January 28, 2012


Human Wishes / Enemy Combatant

a novel by Edmond Caldwell

He might be the dead-end flâneur of non-places like highway rest stops, airport terminals, and shopping malls, or he might be a Gitmo-bound enemy of the state. He might be the son of American working-class parents, or he might be the cousin of a Middle Eastern revolutionary the US labels a terrorist. He might be in possession of a lost Beckett play, or he might just have to go to the bathroom a lot.

“He” is the nameless hero of Human Wishes / Enemy Combatant, and he’s probably no more than a pronoun. With a looping itinerary that takes us from St. Petersburg, Russia to Salem, Massachusetts, from the Palestinian Nakba to a plot to replace New Yorker critic James Wood with a shadowy look-alike, Human Wishes / Enemy Combatant might just be the novel that explodes mainstream, corporate “literary fiction” from the inside out.

Praise for Edmond Caldwell’s Human Wishes / Enemy Combatant

“These ‘anti-stories about In Between places’ bristle with vibrant, fact-filled paranoia and good, old-fashioned self-deprecation, making constant, unexpected turns at breakneck pace. From St. Petersburg to Palestine, from coffin-shaped Joseph Cornell boxes to Monty Python doing Beckett, from reflections on the onslaught of Taylorism to violent, youthful misreadings ofAnimal Farm, the pure writerly intensity of the material, and the audacious panache of each new sentence, never for a moment flag.”

--Jacob Wren, Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed

“Literary squatter . . . saboteur . . . an unreadable run-on paragraph . . . and unpublished, and, evidently, unpublishable novel.”
-–Norah Piehl, Director of Communications, Boston Book Festival

“Edmond Caldwell is right . . .”

--James Wood

Now available from Say It With Stones / Interbirth Books

also, inevitably, available here

1 comment:

Frances Madeson said...

Check-fucking-mate, comrade. You had me at "a wee bairn even." Almost fell out of my bed laughing at that. Thank you for "canting," the neoligism "hemoplaning" (think about it), for liberating us from story at least in this thought experiment. I was already reading you aloud today on the telephone--the whole riff from brightness to the shadows and the ghosts. My friend loved "a migraine's worth of cognitive dissonance." The composition, parts to wholes, is absolutely thrilling. And as presented, each chapter tops the one that came before, and so on. Resonances build in impact interestingly. It's feeling pretty damned tour-de-forcey, so far. I can't wait to keep reading and to write about HW/EC more, lots more. I am over the moon happy for you and for me, your fortunate and grateful reader.