Richard Makin is an extraordinary artist, easily the most insubordinate, bad-boy writer working today. He cares not a lick about narrative or character or other such theories that any child can understand. He scorns your traditions and conventions, which are useless nonsense anyway. What have you been going on about again? Oh, that old-hat stuff again. No, your cleverness isn’t very. No, no interest in your lugubrious stemwinders. Yes, the centuries were appalling. Hm, no. Hm, I’m bored. Hm, I am turning up my nose. Hm, the less said the better.
“Another white floater attaches itself to the window pane, a big void of square,” Makin writes in MOURNING. “Some of those depicted were silicon-based life forms, others carrion. All matter went up in flames. He has something to learn from me, but does not yet know what it is.”
Makin creates books full of this, hundreds of pages, thousands of words. On and on it goes. Aborted declarations, shattered elaborations, truncated descriptions. Plucked from Western monoculture, from the flotsam, from experience, from the act of putting one word after another. Absurdities and ironies and sentimentalism, unblinking and unwinking. It’s not a game and it’s not a joke. It’s not particularly brave and not particularly clever. It is merely jaw-dropping. Unrelenting. Unforgiving. Plenty of hot air and no space. It’s a hoot that’ll put you in a trance state, that’ll make you rethink all your so-called notions of literature, words, meaning.
Makin’s making a good point. And he will outlast you. He will break you. Your mind will play tricks. He will help you see what’s not there. No, he won’t help at all. His only concession is to creating concise, sometimes elegant sentences. But they are far from easily digestible. Nobody’s sure what’s going on here, but it’s exceptional, even a marvel.
“A duct that conveys urine from the kidneys to the cloaca is yet to be invented,” he writes. “I dared not venture out all the weekend. I wanted to say that her place could not remain empty forever. And we could see nothing in the mist. That was the cue for me to exhaust myself, to renegotiate. (Or is all this the pretense of remembrance?)”
The terrain is bleak, terrifying, hilarious. What’s he driving at, anyway? What’s he got in there? Dare to control it. No, don’t. Cut yourself adrift and ride the flow. Let the sentences and words wash over you freely, sensuously, technocratically. Words are holy. Words are wholly lacking. With MOURNING, Makin demonstrates once and for all that he is one of the most blackly humorous and disenchanted voices of modern literature. His severely amputated prose-poetry acknowledges no obligations. It ignores all your goddamn so-called rules you claim to care so much about. He is indifferent to your exertions and squabbles. The point has been lost. There never was a point. There never was a goal. Having goals shows how rude and arrogant you are. Everything is over. Nothing began. Don’t even try. Makin is a great artist.