Available for purchase on Amazon, and in Soho-area bookstores until October 2017.
OF MY ADMIRATION FOR HIS GENIUS
THIS BOOK IS INSCRIBED
DAVID R. JONES
The statements bellow were released in the form of pamphlets alongside the Soho-edition of The Inconsistencies. They are preserved here digitally, in hopes of surviving a very limited print run.
About The Author
A few winters ago, I became obsessed with the between-the-lines of great authors. I began studying the relationships between 19th-century American greats--Melville/Hawthorne/Emerson and such. Melville stuck with me, and does to this day; I forgot all about my framework of authorial intermixing, and spent a bit over a year reading and rereading all Melville's works. I still keep with that practice, and make sure to reread at least Moby-Dick, Pierre, and The Confidence-Man a few times each per year. The practice of rereading is something I believe in, in the same way many people believe in religion. It was during my discovery of Tolstoy -- I was determined to read his entire canon, but fell ever so slightly short -- that my previous obsession with the between-the-lines flooded back to me.
I wrote The Inconsistencies about Melville and Tolstoy in an attempt to quantify and explain the connection I had seen between them: the first part is a rewriting of Tolstoy's Confession, the second part is a rewriting of Moby-Dick. Along the way, the book became entirely biographical and experimental: it became, in addition to being a book about the between-the-lines of great authors, to being a book about the between-the-lines between myself and my readers. The novel's chronology was flipped, turned inside-out, re-made and re-modeled before it became what it now is: a work one part academic literary discussion, and one part experimental ravings regarding suicide and the unconscious.
The Inconsistencies was a work of passion that drove me like nothing I'd felt before. A year of my life was consumed in researching and writing it--the process began in early January 2016, and ended on December 29th (a date overflowing with meaning) of the same year. I worked ~30hrs/week that year and was enrolled in college full time. To ensure that progress was made, I locked myself away from all distractions for an hour each night, and wrote like a madman possessed. My final edits were made overlooking the Hudson for the first time, beneath a very mild Manhattan sun.
As the title implies, the novel-as-a-whole is formed by the coalescence of two separately narrated stories. Both detail journeys in search of a vague 'White Thing', which characters place deeply personal meaning upon throughout their lives. It is not dissimilar in tone to some of Dimitris Lyacos' works. For all the novel's concern with grandiose insight, it is of a jokey and deeply sincere tone; there isn't any bothersome air of intellectualism here, despite the subject matter.
One story recounts an unnamed narrator-figure's attempt to create his own confession narrative, in imitation of Augustine or Rousseau. He recounts the events of his life, and attempts to derive meaning from them, but it becomes obvious that something is deeply wrong about his retelling. The narrator is not unreliable, but is irreconcilable in what events of his life he does and does not detail, and in what conclusions he derives. A straightforward and linear structure (modeled by Tolstoy's Confessions) in maintained throughout, but the focus deviates away from whatever truth the narrator will uncover, and toward the narrator's deep personal flaws and their significance to the reader.
The second tale is an extremely liberal retelling of Moby-Dick: the narrator, Max, ships aboard a whaling vessel as a sort of alternative to suicide. The narrative largely explores the various members of the crew- including the fallen legend of a captain, a decaying and malicious leper, and a former-slave turned priest -all of whom are unified by their individual searches for capital-t-truth within their respective lives. Where the novel's other tale is firmly grounded within genre, period, and structure, this whaling voyage exists in an uncertain and shadowy world, reminiscent of Hawthorne's forests. Opposing its plainer counterpart-story, the crew's affairs range from communal injections of heroin, deaths at sea by the hand of a mutant whale, encounters with unearthly and alien humanoids, and a conversation with the very literal Devil. The unsettling and startling events culminate in a rejection of faith and love, a mutiny, and an all-consuming tempest behind which the aforementioned 'White Thing' is assumed to be hidden- though it seems contradictory to the thing of the same name sought after by the previous tale's narrator.