I went to graduate school at an MFA program that burbled along in its own little universe. My first year there, I was the only one who went to AWP — nobody else even knew what it was. We weren’t given a lot of tools for getting our writing out into the world, and only the most stubborn have gone on to get published. And my friend David James Keaton is the stubbornest: his 500-page novel The Last Projector came out in hardcover Oct. 31 from Broken River Press. The book is partly about a aging porn director, partly about a young couple absently plotting revenge against a cop, partly about a former paramedic’s crime. But it’s not the what — which tends toward the wickedly outrageous — as much as the how. The writing is fluid in ways it’s not supposed to be — a plot point picks up and reverses itself, a girl morphs from one look to another to another in the telling, not a magic thing, just in the narration (because I know him I recognize some of the referents, which include girlfriends and even our friends’ dog). There are great meandering conversations about movies, and strange sick setpieces. It feels like stream of consciousness but it’s only partly that, because Dave is smart and funny and he knows what he’s doing, and there are nudges in the text to let you know he’s having fun all along. He really is.
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