Thursday, December 2, 2010

Impossible Princess, Kevin Killian

In 2007, I had a short story published in an anthology of writers from the blogging underground. It was my first and only experience with being published. There were very few reviews of the anthology. But, there existed two. And, I was lucky enough to be mentioned in both reviews. Of the two reviewers, one was an author. The author Kevin Killian. At this point in time I had never read anything by Killian. But, his name always appeared alongside other authors I enjoyed (Dennis Cooper, Scott Heim, Poppy Z. Brite, etc). After reading his brief, but kind, words on my piece I was afraid to read his works. Afraid of what his work would say about my work. It is unfair to hold yourself to the abilities of others. As writers, we create and enjoy things that do not always match.

On discovering the library where I work owned Killian's most recent collection of short stories, I figured it was time to give his work a chance. First, I looked up his writing history (a little here and there with small amounts of praise), then his website (a single page with a photo of him nude with a towel draped around his shoulders), and then I read some reviews (mostly positive, but not many to find). It was time to quit wasting time and just read the stories.

Impossible Princess is filled with the type of eclectic, postmodern, overly sexualized, and unique word play I used to enjoy reading. There are elements of Dennis Cooper throughout the collection. And, I must add, that while Cooper has slowed down on his out put over the past five years... his earlier work remains a great influence on my writing and my perspective. Also, Killian is clearly a fan of Marguerite Duras (another author I will always hold in high regards) as seen in his short story 'Dietmar Lutz Mon Amour' (a play on Duras' Hiroshima Mon Amour). Although, Killian doesn't quite live up to his hopes in this short story when he states he wants to tell about the love story as if Duras is watching.

A few of the stories are co-authored. I understand this is fun and interesting for those creating the fiction, but as a reader it leaves me lost. I don't know who I'm reading at what point. Why this need to work within each others own realm of writing?

I can't say I loved any of the stories. But, I did enjoy a couple of them. There is a freshness to the voice that is nowhere to be found in most literature you find on the shelves of bookstores, reviewed in the pages of literary journals, or mentioned amongst friends. For this, Killian exists within a group of writers that still lives very much on the edge of writing. It's a sometimes dangerous and dirty edge, but it is an interesting experience.


No comments:

Post a Comment