25 Points: Solip

by Ken Baumann
Tyrant Books, 2013
200 pages / $14.95 buy from Amazon or SPD








1. Solip isn’t a novel.

2. If you’re looking for plot, look elsewhere.

3. This might be the single most difficult book to write jacket copy for.

4. This isn’t experimental literature for the sake of experimenting.

5. The book is physically tiny and the front cover is minimalist.

6. There is nothing on the back cover. A wall of black staring at you. No pull quotes or blurbs, and by the second page you realize why: because the book speaks for itself.

7. I read this tiny book in one sitting in a coffee shop amazed by its power and had to go indoors to drown out the outside world to reread it and devour it properly.

8. Baumann’s writing demands your attention. It’s as if he’s bottled up the intensity present in much of online fiction and spread it out over a longer narrative, not losing a beat in the process.

9. The sentences are divine. The language will cast shadows. They will hum to you. Listen closely.

10. The book has a pulse to it, a pulse that beats louder and more pervasively as the text unfolds.

11. This isn’t beach reading but getting a glimpse inside Baumann’s mind is much like watching an intricate sand castle being built.

12. Trying to quote from Solip is like trying to bottle up the air.

13. There is a dream like quality to Solip. It will lull you to sleep then shake you awake, leaving you confused and intrigued.

14. Baumann has exhibited equal parts visionary explorer and poetic tongue with this text.

15. This book may compel you to try and emulate the writing style. Seems simple enough, right? You’ll find it’s much, much harder than you thought.

16. Solip isn’t for everyone (is any book, or piece of art for that matter, really for everyone?) In fact, it’s probably not for a lot of people but regardless of affect, it will produce a strong effect.

17. Early frontrunner for best book I’ve read this year, certainly the most memorable. I can’t remember reading anything quite like Solip.

18. I’d be very scared to have this narrator in my life but secretly I feel as though everyone knows someone like this. They just aren’t given a voice like Baumann has done.

19. I felt, and still do, genuinely excited about the future of literature (why so serious?) or just people’s general ability to string words together and to expand other’s horizons with a fresh perspective after reading Solip.

20. This is Lynch and Beckett put together in a blender and shredded until wholly original and uniquely weird.

21. Solip is a twitter account from hell, a deranged patient babbling on a shrink’s couch.

22. As maddening as the text is at times, and it does get weird, you never feel as though you’re being guided somewhere outside of Baumann’s zone. You’re on auto-pilot without a gps or a seatbelt but the view is so captivating, so foreign that your initial urge to close your eyes, to look away, will be trumped by your need to finish the next sentence, the next paragraph, the next page to see where it’s all going to end up.

23. What you get out of this book will depend greatly on the mindset upon which you begin. Much more so, I suppose, than with other books.

24. Concise yet brimming with ideas and thoughts and lists and fragments and run-ons and then it’s over and you’re left wondering what the fuck happened.

25. Trying to produce 25 points for a book this length is harder than I first imagined. I feel like forcing responses in response to this text is an exercise in futility.


Patrick Trotti writes and reads and smokes and thinks. Mostly by himself. Find more at www.patricktrotti.com.