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Great First Lines: “Rose Alley” by Jeremy M. Davies

They shot her screen test in Paris, where I’ve never been, in the private room of the café Tout Va Bien, in the Latin Quarter, newly paved in tar, and still lewd that winter with debris from the blockades of stacked cobblestones—centuries old, pried right off the streets—and the stink of some secret catastrophe.

A disclaimer: Jeremy’s a dear friend and former roommate of mine—but c’mon! That opening line is obviously great. & the whole book is simply fabulous. I was motivated to post this because I just recommended, for the dozenth time, no joke, that a fellow writing classmate read the book …

So what’s going on in this opening line?

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Craft Notes / 2 Comments
October 11th, 2012 / 8:17 am

A Dozen Dominants, part 2 (aka, “You used to know what these words mean”)

I was really thrilled to read all the responses my last post generated; thanks to everyone who chimed in! And I wanted to post something that clarifies some of the things I wrote there, since it’s apparent I caused no small amount of confusion…

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Craft Notes / 25 Comments
October 29th, 2011 / 4:22 pm

Interview with Jeremy M. Davies

I met Jeremy M. Davies in a hotel room. It was late—or early, depending. He came in with a whirl, holding a huge manuscript, wearing a lot of black, or charcoal, depending. As soon as Davies walked in, someone handed him some whiskey, then the whole group left.

The next time I saw Davies, he walked into a Mexican restaurant, late—not late in the evening, per se, but simply late. About an hour late. Whereas he did not walk in with a huge manuscript, he was wearing a lot of black, or charcoal, depending.

But enough about that. Jeremy Davies’s Rose Alley is dense with wit, charm, and dirty, dirty smut, disguised in lush, meandering metaphor. Although the story—if one can honestly call it a story—is set during the 1968 Paris student riots, the chapters jump to follow different characters all involved in a film. As I was reading this book, I emailed Jeremy & told him I forgot he was the author. To me, that’s one of the ultimate compliments. I mean: I read his book, knowing him, and I was so blown away I forgot he wrote it. But don’t take my word for it: Josh Cohen said this book was his favorite of 2009 from someone he knows; powerhouse demi-god Harry Mathews says, “You have no excuse for not reading this book;” the ever brilliant Steve Katz says, “He is an impeccable stylist who creates a richness full of Nabokovean Pynchonistics, totally original, dressed in wacky erudition.”

And so, without further ado, the interview:

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Author Spotlight / 16 Comments
December 28th, 2009 / 9:48 am

Jeremy M. Davies’s ‘Rose Alley’

daviescompJust out (today!) from the wonderful Counterpath Press is Jeremy M. Davies’s debut novel, ‘Rose Alley,’ a book ostensibly about an obscure blue film made during the 1968 Paris riots. The book consists of a series of chapters each based on one of the film’s crew and cast, chaining the mostly by turns gristly and sex/violence addled lives and whereabouts in their intersection with the film’s strange creation and resulting aura.

Davies’s prose sings from paragraph to paragraph in that way of Pynchon and Hannah, in that each could stand alone in its music, and each contains multitudes, packed into syllables clearly fought for and refined for their finest parts.

For a more thorough review of the book, please check out my post in this month’s edition of Bookslut, including my claim: “Here is a debut novel full not only of sex and violence, alternate histories, layerings of will, but also in sentences designed to entertain as much as dazzle, making Jeremy M. Davies a great new brain trust for the page.”

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Author News / 6 Comments
June 1st, 2009 / 9:35 pm

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