When I’m in research mode, I find myself getting into these ruts where all I’m reading is non-fiction. Not that that’s necessarily bad. Doing research for Days Between Driveways prompted me to read Holy Land by D.J. Waldie and the work of Edward T. Hall, but I can’t help feeling guilty when an author whose work I appreciate cranks out several novels while I haven’t been paying attention. Maybe because it acts as a shocking reminder of the transitory nature of time. That, or of how much of my day I waste watching Sportscenter.
But fuck all that. I recently discovered that a novel I became immersed in while on my Hudson Line commute (back in my Metro North days) is still unpublished. Written by J. Robert Lennon and entitled Happyland, it was condensed and serialized in Harper’s Magazine and legend has it that publishers were skittish about how closely the characters resembled certain real-type people, hence it never made it to book-form. I won’t bother to wind myself up into screed mode on the ubiquity of crap such as “fratire” and websites-that-become-books blighting the landscape of contemporary literature, just allow that I’m not the only one who’s patiently waiting to read Happyland as it was intended. Jason Rice is in the midst of a multi-part feature on the novel, complete with an interview with JRL and plenty of background information. Go. Read.