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Inhaltsangabe: A most unlikely life.
Marc Estrin” discovers that another writer’s novel The Nose not only has spawned a bizarre cult among the nation’s youth, but is based on the extraordinary life of a real person an outcast named Alexei Pigov.
Estrin” searches Alexei out and asks him to provide annotations to The Nose.
Alexei says that although the events of the novel might, for the most part, be real the purported reasons for them are all damnable lies.
On the left-hand page of The Annotated Nose we read The Nose itself, and take in its beautifully unsettling illustrations.
On the right-hand page we follow Alexei’s complaints always surprising and often far-reaching.
The layers in Estrin’s remarkable comic book are as multiple, eclectic, and outrageous as the sequence of masks Alexei wears to hide his face from the world over the caroming trajectory of his most unlikely life.
The Annotated Nose is at once Marc Estrin’s most playful and his most ambitious work to date. A signed and numbered limited edition of 75 copies is also available.
Review: According to his website, Marc Estrin is a writer, cellist, and activist living in Burlington, Vermont. However, in a secondary biographical note, he calls himself a Biologist, theatre director, EMT, Unitarian Minister, physician assistant, puppeteer, political activist, college professor, cellist and conductor... baffling, even unto himself. Or, in a third, alternative note, ...was hired to teach theatre at Goddard College, but in his departmentless utopia, wound up also teaching music, writing, Finnegans Wake, math, physics, medical self-help and crazy courses like Philosophy for Dishwashers, an audio based lecture/discussion series to sweeten the life of cafeteria volunteers. There is an even longer, fourth biographical statement that mentions growing up in a small apartment so full of books you had to walk sideways in the hall, giving up literary virginity to Franz Kafka at the age of 16, and reaching back into a past life to study and practice medicine. Much like his newest book, The Annotated Nose (Unbridled Books, 2008), Estrin is a composite of raconteur-like embellishments and factual fictions, who challenges the idea of being hemmed in by terse description. Estrin is the author of four previous novels: Insect Dreams: The Half Life of Gregor Samsa (2002), The Education of Arnold Hitler (2005), Golem Song (2006), and The Lamentations of Julius Marantz (2007). The Annotated Nose continues in a similar vein as his previous work, blending elements of fiction, non-fiction, and biography into a humorous novel that doesn't shy away from incisive political or social critique. According to its cover, The Annotated Nose is based on a cult classic called The Nose, a biography written by William Hundwasser about the strange life of a man named Alexei Pigov. Estrin's annotated edition includes Hundwasser's original biographical text, Alexei Pigov's corresponding critical notes, illustrations by Delia Robinson, and an editorial introduction and appendix by Estrin. I contacted Mr. Estrin via email to ask him a few questions about The Annotated Nose: Rail: On the back of The Annotated Nose, there's a list of authors: Jonathan Swift, Laurence Sterne, Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz, William S. Burroughs. Included in this list is William Hundwasser, the original author of The Nose. Many of those authors fall within a tradition of alternative/experimental writing. Is The Annotated Nose a part of a particular alternative and/or experimental tradition? Estrin: I was not the author of that list, nor did I suggest it as text for the back cover. Nevertheless, I do tend to enjoy very much authors who are in your face AS AUTHORS. Not everyone on the list writes that way, but Swift and Sterne certainly (add Fielding), and I would add even unlisted authorial discourses such as those found in Thomas Mann. But all those folks are found on my shelves, and I enjoy them for reasons as various as they are. I don't tend to think of them as alternative or experimental since I consider the novel itself as an ongoing experiment since Cervantes, alternative only to itself as it varies and evolves. Fred Ramey, my editor, knows that this is a collection of my guys (since we at one time or another have discussed them between us), and he is good-naturedly tweaking me (us) by putting the fictive Hundwasser among them. Rail: Your book makes use of footnotes, illustrations, differing typefaces and blank space to create a somewhat labyrinthine atmosphere. Did you set out to write a book that would have this quality, or did it come about as a result of your work? Estrin: I actually don't see it as labyrinthine at all. It is simply two novels, one third person, and the other first person (in the form of notes) facing one another on left and right pages. Stay in your place. No mixing, even of presentational styles. --The Brooklyn Rail
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