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Ed Atkins

ED ATKINS

Ben Marcus’s The Age of Wire and String, first published in 1995, has recently been reissued by Granta, so I’ll take the opportunity to read it again.

Marcus is enviably great at viscosity. Foul unguents, moist fumes. He conjures an onomatopoeia of the innards, I’d say. A dull ache that creeps. Metastatic writing.

Like Donald Barthelme’s story “A Manual for Sons” (1975), Marcus’s novel has the air of a specialist’s instruction booklet. Reading its obscure directives evokes something of the anxiety of trying to assimilate among a people whose culture and syntax (and physics, and theisms) are occult, sagging parodies of your own.

Ed Atkins is a London-based artist.

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