Simply put, Joyce is one of the most imaginative artists of his time.
Was: Annales Nomadique: A Novel Of Internet
Was is a wonder work, half-poem half-narrative, an often comic nomadic history whose main character is the fleetingness of information itself. A post-cyber Pilgrim’s Progress, it limns a postmodern “ages of man” (and woman) with a phosphorescent succession of threshold events, each flaring toward an elegiac still point, although not perhaps an end. Its title figure, the word
was, marks that instant of utterance outside the present, which is neither past nor future but rather the interstitial space of any telling. Like Ariel in flight, Was takes place “before you can say ‘come’ and ‘go,’” slipping away before you can “breathe twice and cry ‘so, so.’” The nomadic lovers here, as any lovers, attempt to linger in the afterglow of what was but it slips away like mist. Story begets story as if without author, events gathering into each other, as much memory as dream, their locales literally moving across the face of the globe by instants. Continent to continent, from hemisphere to hemisphere, synaptic episodes strobe across its surface like thunderstorms seen from a satellite. Yet in these brief flashes a memorable and deeply moving procession of characters passes before us in vignette, lovers and children, parents and refugees, sailors, missionaries, clowns, mourners, forlorn warriors, sweet singers.