[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Tektseditions
Formats: Paperback
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | iBooks[/alert]

Lance Olsen’s collection How to Unfeel the Dead showcases over twenty years’ worth of work from a writer who ruthlessly explores and remaps the boundaries of contemporary American fiction. Olsen examines everything from the paintings of Max Ernst to our collective social media-induced malaise, to more timeless and traditional themes of desire, disconnection, and dissatisfaction. Each piece is its own funky little springboard into the abyss of language. For example, the story “Status Updates” is a series of status updates that document the mundane, the sadness and the disconnection we face while trying to “connect.” The piece “Strategies in the Overexposure of Well-lit Space” is a compilation of literary snapshots that zoom in on everything from the Discovery Channel to sad men in their bedrooms, to an esoteric Paul McCartney interviewing a perplexed Marshall McLuhan. Olsen is everywhere in this collection, echoing writers from Burroughs to Barthes throughout. The reader who doesn’t hold an MFA might feel the need to brush up on her postmodern literary theory before taking Olsen’s journey with him, but even if you don’t know your Helene Cixous from your Honey Boo Boo, there’s still plenty of fun to be had reading this collection.

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