Nothing in the World

I usually post about music or TV or, definitely coming soon, that crazy ass "Head On" commercial ("Head On! Apply directly to forehead! Head On..." -- completely brilliant, by the way), but since its lit Thursday and I've been sticking to the script lately, thought I'd post quickly about a great little book I just finished, "Nothing in the World," by Roy Kesey.

It's a lovely, strange, kinda haunting little book. And I do mean little. The book, which I guess is technically a novella, is tiny, a little smaller than a CD jewel case, the perfect size to tuck into your pocket. It was the winner of Bullfight Media Little Book Contest (Bullfight is also the publisher, or former publisher, or maybe even-more-occasional-than-Barrelhouse publisher of the Bullfight Review, which is a great little lit mag), for novels or novellas or whatever that are less than 100 pages long.

No less an authority than George Saunders calls Nothing in the World "a beautiful, powerful book: mythic, vivid, heart-rending." Not bad. And he's right. The book follows Josko, a troubled teenager in Croatia, just as the war breaks out with Serbia. Josko enlists in the Army, becomes a talented sniper, shoots down some planes, and then goes wandering AWOL across the countryside in an increasingly dreamlike, hallucinatory, desperate, violent voyage. It's a war novel, there's no doubt about that, but it's also a very touching and, as Saunders said, mythic book (I couldn't help but think that perhaps Josko's wanderings were based on some myth that I was too stupid and poorly read to place).

The book seems to be picking up some steam, with a lot of juice on the blogosphere (or, maybe, in keeping with our policy of always being a day late to the party, I should say there was a lot of buzz about it, maybe about a month or so ago). It's a nice success story for Kesey and also for Bullfight, a little publisher made good if there ever was one.

If you've made it this far in this blog post, you should probably buy Nothing in the World right now.


Matt said...

I really dug Kesey's book too, and wrote a bit about it on my own blog.

Thanks for helping spread the word about this one-- It's a great read, and I'm glad more and more people are hearing about it.

Jim said...

Kesey is an amazing writer. I heard him read from NitW in NYC this spring and bought two signed copies then, one for me and one to give to a writer-friend. Now that I've read it, I wish I'd bought more. Nothing in the World is an absolute gem!