Hat tip to an NCPR fan in New York City for pointing out that Janet Maslin is reviewing “Exley” in today’s New York Times.
Brock Clarke’s new novel is set in Watertown and it circles around another Watertown novel, Frederick Exley’s “A Fan’s Notes.”
For anyone who knows the true story of Exley’s life (and this book uses Jonathan Yardley, the book critic who was Exley’s biographer, as a character who appears in Watertown to supply Miller with factual information), the unlikelihood of finding him is awfully high.
But “Exley” isn’t about discovering truth; it’s about Miller’s creating the fictions he needs to believe in and then clinging to them despite all evidence to the contrary.
He believes in Exley so fervently that he keeps finding Exley stand-ins all over Watertown.
Clarke teaches at the University of Cincinnati. For more about him, go here.