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Unpacking Unplugging Philco

the stacksYes, I’ve returned from Florida and while the Spanish moss and the manatee had to stay, I did return with some treasures. As shown in the photo at left, these include: a first edition of Vineland by Thomas Pynchon, picked up at City Lights in Sylva, North Carolina; Bookleggers and Smuthounds: The Trade In Erotica 1920-1940 by Jay A. Gertzman, found at a thrift store in Dunedin; Walking Small by  L.J. Davis, a surprise discovery at a Tarpon Springs garage sale; Imaginations by William Carlos Williams, a gift from photographer and poet Amber Tides; and nice paperback copies of A Hell of a Woman by Jim Thompson and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, both from the mighty (and mighty zany) Haslam’s Books in St Petersburg.

Almost smack dab in the middle of this is an advance copy Jim Knipfel’s latest novel, Unplugging Philco, which is now available for all to purchase. If you’ll be at Book Court tonight seeing L.J. Davis and Jonathan Lethem, buy it there. I don’t want to make any misleading comparisons but I think it’s safe to say that Jim— the Edgar Allen Poe of Park Slope, the Herman Melville of the Unmutual, the Thomas Hardy of Horribleness Day, the Siegfried of 6th Avenue (where Simon & Schuster’s offices are), a woodbird’s song his shield against the Stroller Brigade— like Jonathan, has Philip K. Dick’s Ubik somewhere on his shelves. That these books were there well before PKD was considered a literary totem for anyone but a far-flung coterie of misfits, paranoids and dystopianists is one reason why these two Brooklyn writers can sometimes strike such similar chords so differently: Jonathan smitten with Max Steiner’s score to The Searchers, Jim’s not wholly unlike the sound of Siegfried forging Nothung in Fritz Lang’s silent film Die Nibelung. This is how it should be  yet rarely is. Monads unite! — Caz Dolowicz

Caz Dolowicz was born on Sands Street in 1923; most of the year he lives in Bay Ridge with his cats, Ethan and Parsifal, and his wife Ortrud.

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