A Review of: Diegeses by D. Harlan Wilson

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And so it is finally time for another review… this time: DIEGESES by D. HARLAN WILSON

D. Harlan Wilson has quickly asserted himself as an exemplary example of a new wave of writers unafraid to engage in what can only be described as “post-storytelling”. Frenetic pace, schizo-language, ultraviolence, ridiculous plots and hilarious characters all conspire to create truly remarkable works of fiction in every one of his books.

His latest, DIEGESES consists of two shorter novellas titled “The Bureau of Me” and “The Idaho Reailty” published by Anti-Oedipus Press – if you have read Deleuze & Guattari’s works, you will realize this is a clue as to the nature of Wilson’s writing. The two stories combine, in my opinion, to create a rhizome of sorts. It grows from the middle between them. It is about the tension between two movements of the self, each one is headed in a different direction – TBoM, a territorializing movement towards the structured, stratified reality of ego and sense; TIR, a deterritorializing movement towards the Body without Organs.

“The Bureau of Me” introduces us to Curd, an actor of sorts who relies on alcohol, bad breakfasts and sex with his assistant to get through life. He’s also plagued by a shadowy organization known as The Bureau of Me, whose agents cordially invite him to something unspecified. Is Curd suffering as a paranoiac machine, bearing witness to a false movement of persecutory agents intent on doing him harm? He wants to be free, but finds himself continually repressed, depressed and contained by external pressures to become something solid to become an identity. The Bureau of Me is an external representation of his own fears that set his own body against him – hence his witnessing a scene where two men eat each other, at first it seems they will embrace before they engage in devouring each other’s flesh.

Moving into “The Idaho Reality” we see the world as a vignette, reality as layers piled on top of one another – it begins with the world as a stage and everything is signs. Perhaps covering the true reality, perhaps as the true reality, that is not important. What is important is that we witness Curd as an actor portraying somebody else and the story moves away from this at the end. If the Bureau of Me is about a paranoiac machine being triangulated to become an Ego, then The Idaho Reality is about the deterritorialization of the strata of reality into a desert: It is about becoming a Body without Organs – represented by Curd’s final foray into a desert. It is about losing yourself, rather than finding yourself. Becoming-schizophrenic, not in a clinical sense, but becoming as the world itself is: schizophrenia as a mode of production.

This is a fascinating text, full of Wilson’s signature prose and wit, superb descriptions, fantastic dialogue and radical mobilization of Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy. It can be enjoyed on many levels, because it is so wonderfully written. It is one that I will have to come back to again and again in order to read more fully what Wilson is saying, but highly recommend that people read regardless of their interest in that side of it, because Wilson is a sublime writer.

Pick up your copy of Diegeses at amazon.co.uk or at amazon.com and check out Wilson’s other work at his site, check out the third part of his SciKungFi trilogy too @  thekyotoman.com

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