Stephenson’s Passes Through is the most exciting book I’ve read in some time. … Here’s a book that succeeds through pure writing to do what only the best fiction does.Samuel R. Delany
In language that is frank and uncompromising, Rob Stephenson’s debut novel Passes Through moves forward in a rare and daring manner.
Part journal, part meditation on aesthetics, part dreamscape, Passes Through investigates experience, identity, beauty, and sexuality, while complicating such distinctions as writing versus revision and imagination versus observation. It is a narrative of and about language, a narrative of and about narrative.
Stephenson throws to the wayside all of the traditional elements of fiction and in doing so composes a musical composition of obsessive consciousness and selfhood’s slippage. This haunting novel baffles and confounds on its way toward a stunning yet inevitable finale.
Welcome to the barbwire collection (the limbo between prose and poetry). Stephenson’s Passes Through is the most exciting book I’ve read in some time. It has something to do with his pitch-perfect mastery of the underlying logic of association and his observational eye that sweeps through sex, art, death, and obsession — an obsession that may be love or that may be the desire to kill, or both. Here’s a book that succeeds through pure writing to do what only the best fiction does.
In this narrative of pure negativity, to “pass through” is to encounter the compulsive hater that may lurk in all of us. He is compellingly stalked via an accumulation of tiny precise phrases or gestures bespeaking the odd use of heartlessness, the protagonist’s and the culture’s, brilliantly juxtaposed in a stylistically and narratively intriguing work.