Jacques Servin

Jacques Servin

Jacques Servin is without peer in the pure inventiveness of his language. His voice, vision, wit, and charm are absolutely unique in contemporary American writing. Like Donald Barthelme before him, Servin is a gypsy original, always startling, always lively, usually hilarious. Mermaids for Attila (1991) immediately established Jacque Servin as “a significant and very original writer,” in the words of Ron Sukenick. He divides his time between San Francisco, New York, and Europe.

Aviary Slag

Mermaids for Attila

Jacques Servin’s writing invents a new kind of exquisiteness — daredevil, ultra-anxious, and sopping beautiful. His degree of originality borders on the mindblowing. A find if there ever was one.

Dennis Cooper

Aviary Slag

Jacques Servin

Aviary Slag, by Jacques Servin (FC2, 1996)

1996

Hardcover
ISBN 978-0-932511-91-1

Quality Paper
ISBN 978-0-932511-92-8

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Aviary Slag is a lucid, lysergic antidote to the so-called profundities of “quality fiction.” An assemblage of intricately interlocked mini-epics, moral tales, and porn tracts, it is a definitively post-postmodern work. Jacques Servin plunders and smelts the traditional forms, then fashions out of the slag a brilliant poetics of power and eros. In both form and content, Aviary Slag provides hard-hitting metaphors for the death of deforming constraints. It is a book for the volatile end of a century that has smelted and recast almost everything.

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Toke up hermetic numina, unroll the scurfy scroll — interactive designer pyramid texts — organic cryptanalysis.

Hakim Bey

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Stop! Don’t put this book back on the shelf. You want to know what’s new? This writing is new. And after you read this your life becomes the news. Absolute nitpicking genius!

Steve Katz

Jacques Servin is a comic writer whose awesome intelligence sails along and occasionally ploughs the border between language and a half-dreamed, half-lived life.

Andrei Codrescu, author of Belligerence

Mermaids for Attila

Jacques Servin

Mermaids for Attila, by Jacques Servin (FC2, 1991)

1991

Hardcover
ISBN 978-0-932511-50-8

Quality Paper
ISBN 978-0-932511-51-5

Buy

Mermaids for Attila is a fun, hands-on, toy-like book on the subject of well-orchestrated national behaviors. In it Servin considers horrors and the weirdest political truths. Characters discover themselves in communities where citizens engage in intricate dances that appear great, ugly, exploitative, silly, or even beautifully unremarkable. How do they know the steps? As if they had cribsheets, they are unshakably confident in their footwork. They want so badly to be in a play that they are anyway. Jacques Servin is an adept at imagining how things — once freed from their ordinary moorings in an administered reality — might recohere in a world where life actually lives. Mermaids for Attila is a bathotopia for the living, a naked lunch on Baker Street where the strangest ideas become well-seasoned truths.

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Jacques Servin is a comic writer whose awesome intelligence sails along and occasionally ploughs the border between language and a half-dreamed, half-lived life. The titles, seemingly plucked raw from the middle of still screaming paragraphs, can by themselves cause a kind of vertigo: “The Method of Distillery Was Remarkable but We Angled Down,” “Bad Day on the Moon,” and “Spooky Days of the Wide-Eyed.” The paragraphs themselves heal magically fast because Servin is a frighteningly inventive writer. At times the undertow of other languages and a mysterious occult quality make the text quake.… I felt occasionally that I was riding a tilt-a-smorgasbord during an earthquake. Mermaids for Attila is a stupendously original collection, and Attila the Reader can but accept these mermaids (Servin stories) with awed (if occasionally queasy) gratitude.

Andrei Codrescu, author of Belligerence

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Jacques Servin is some kind of crazy genius. His work entertains me, irritates me, and every now and then affects me with a touch of awe.

Vance Bourjaily, author of Now Playing at Canterbury

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At a time when conventional narrative fiction is making an utterly boring comeback, it is a relief to find writers like Jacques Servin who are willing to acknowledge that verbal representation can no longer be regarded as anything more than a point of departure. Servin’s stories untell themselves with an ease that is both amusing and disturbing, working playfully with the inherent instability of the linguistic medium and at the same time establishing a seriously critical relationship to the violent banalities of current social environment.

Stephen-Paul Martin, author of The Flood and Open Form and the Feminine Imagination