AUTHOR, THE DISINTEGRATIONS
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Press for The Disintegrations
Named one of the Best Works of Fiction for 2017 by The Seattle Times and Entropy Magazine
"The Disintegrations is not just about death, but about the radical, frustrating unknowability of what lies beyond it -- as well as about fiction's power to flirt with the unknowable, if not to illuminate it. Ultimately, it's about the self's drive toward self-knowledge... the book manages to capture the complications of mourning -- the sense that the departed are shockingly distant yet painfully proximate, forever absent yet frozen in memory... The Disintegrations shows McCartney reckoning with, and reveling in, death's mysteries from the liminal space of the writing life"
-- Los Angeles Review of Books (full review)
"McCartney's exhaustive, morbid tour is something to behold as he investigates the termination of life and his own keen philosophies and attitudes on the subject.... his perfectly objective and removed style gives him the proper tools with which to investigate the void. With an unbiased hand and a penchant for making death ceremoniously unsentimental, McCartney opens up tales of the dead with a detached glee."
-- Necessary Fiction (full review)
"Death, a force that McCartney labels 'the great disintegrator, the gnarly unmaker,' is examined in this cerebral autobiographical novel. With every example, death mutates in McCartney’s telling from a subject whose study gives him 'purpose, a sense of direction' to a source of real terror."
-- Publishers Weekly (full review)
"A novel that reads like a journal--with all entries meditations on the theme of death. ... Outré and disturbingly engaging."
-- Kirkus Review (full review)
"...witty, hypnotic and waywardly fascinating. ... Spinning tale after tale, anecdote after anecdote, he winds up paradoxically writing a book that teems with life, even as it keeps its eye on the threshold where life vanishes. Think of McCartney as a morgue-fixated Scheherazade, and you'll get an idea what The Disintegrations is like. ... for anyone who's had direct experience of death, McCartney's casual sidestepping of the usual hush and discretion surrounding terminal illness feels like an act of urgent sympathy."
-- Michael Upchurch for Seattle Gay News (full review)
"You should read it because it's an engaging, enigmatic meditation on death that's both conversational and humorous, both academic and (if you'll pardon the pun) deadly serious. You should read The Disintegrations because it's McCartney's second book, and already the author can keep a lot of balls in the air, philosophically exploring the quality of death at the same time that he quantifies it. By logical, almost mathematical means, Alistair McCartney even arrives at something like an estimate of the value of death."
-- Steven Cordova in The Lambda Literary Book Report (full review)
"While death may be the element that ties these stories together, McCartney spends most of his time writing about the lives of his subjects, their struggles, their passions,, and their loves. In the process, he gradually reveals more about himself, as well. The Disintegrations is an unusual work of fiction that makes for a compelling reading experience."
-- The Gay and Lesbian Review
Named one of Entropy Magazine's Best Works of Fiction of 2017
Named one of Seattle Times' Favorite Works of Fiction
Dennis Cooper's Blog named it one of his favorite works of Fiction of 2017
Interviews about The Disintegrations
– “Maybe This Book is a Cemetery”, interview by Meghan Lamb in Los Angeles Review of Books
– Interview by Kevin Catalano in The Coil
– Self-Interview on The Nervous Breakdown
– Interview by David Francis in New York Gay City News
– Interview by Michael Browne in Angel City Review
– McCartney wrote about the music that inspired The Disintegrations on LargeHearted Boy
– McCartney wrote “The Path of Totality” about the books that inspired The Disintegrations for the University of Wisconsin Press blog
– Dennis Cooper featured The Disintegrations on his blog
Press for The End of the World Book
Finalist for PEN USA Fiction Award 2009 and the Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Debut Fiction Award 2009, and named one of Seattle Times Best Ten Books of 2008
"... a giddy literary jape ... The literary 'insurgency' that The End of the World
Book proceeds from is almost entirely French – the not-quite-novels
of Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Klossowski, Raymond Queneau and Louis-René des
Forêts invariably called récits (accounts) ... an interrogation of literature – how we think about writing, what we choose to write about and why... "
-- The Los Angeles Times (full review)
"Novel? Memoir? Encyclopedia? Fantasia? The End of the World Book ... is all these things at
once. And its brilliant. ... so sharp and alive that you feel as though
bright, perverse balloons of insight are expanding-or exploding in your
mind as you turn the pages. if you like Australian literary maverick
Murray Bail or order-obsessed imagination of Peter Greenaway, you won't
want to miss this."
-- The Seattle Times (full review)
"... a surreal and self-referential encyclopedia for the 21st century. Arranged
alphabetically, McCartney employs a short, free association style to
expound on disparate topics, including Princess Diana, head lice,
extinction-and everything in between. ... fans of alternative literature and
Borges may discover a kindred spirit. "
-- Publishers Weekly
"McCartney's playful, almost
free-associative prose comes on like the work of a performance artist ... or
an avant-garde stand-up comic; it's often scabrously funny."
-- Library Journal
"Alistair McCartney's debut fiction work turns the 20th-century writing format on
its ear... a literary box of delicacies ... It's tempting to gorge on entire
chunks, but take it slow, letter by letter, and savor the eccentric beauty
of McCartney's prose."
-- The San Francisco Bay Area Reporter (full review)
"... adult sense of imminent apocalypse ... and flashes of
brilliance ... there's little doubt that his quixotic compilation can be more
inventive in its brevity than many novels."
"McCartney seems, like Wilde arriving in America before him, 'to
have nothing to declare but his genius.' I dare anyone to read The End
of the World Book without being moved by its restless romanticism, its
perfect paragraphs and the whisper of mortality that seeps through these
pages...you won't find a more unusual book this year..."
--Kevin Killian, Lambda Book Report
"The alphabetically arranged sections ... are stunning in their wit,
wisdom ,and sharpness. Some are poignant; others are downright
disturbing. The love of knowledge--and experience of loss--is the
connective tissue of this novel ... which provides us a view into the
idiosyncratic mind of someone who has lived at the land's end for most of his life. ... The view from there is challenging, disturbing, and engaging."
--The Gay and Lesbian Review
"The End of the World Book heralds the arrival of a daring new voice in literature, the
literary equivalent of Todd Haynes' collaged post modern films, Slava
Mogutin's edgy urban photographs, Hernan Bas's paintings of decadent
dandies, and the Magnetic Fields'merging of irony and classic poignant
--William J. Mann, author of Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn
“Like no other book written before... immediately makes you laugh or think with the next entry..."
--The Lesser of Two Equals Blog
“a postmodern narrative that slips between genres, geography, and identity, written as a series of encyclopedia entries. ...a multifaceted exploration of identity...The vision that emerges is thoughtful and dark, but not tragic, and ultimately defiant."
--Gulf Coast Quarterly (full review in Irene Keliher’s “Looking for the Post-Gay, The New Frontiers of Queer Fiction")
– Alistair McCartney on the National Book Critics Circle blog
– Interview by Dan Callahan