In the House Un-American
published 2013 • 5.5" x 7.75" • 150 pages • b&w illustrations
ISBN 9781566569279 • paperback • $15.00 •
A FICTION FOR OUR TIMES AND A RADICAL PROOF THAT “AMERICA WAS FABLE BEFORE IT BECAME FACT.”
“It is difficult to speak of Benjamin Hollander’s masterpiece, so America, so like an inner emigration, as if we had all changed names....A book of this order comes very rarely to our consciousness; we are so censorious of new genres....[T]his book exists as music barely heard in the air becomes music of our ground, grain.”
"...a true tragicomedia in the sense of Spanish La Celestina by Fernando de Rojas" —Jose Kozer
In the 1950s, a Puerto Rican Jew with roots in Leipzig and the Middle East lands in New York Harbor. So begins In the House Un-American, where Carlos ben Carlos Rossman, wannabe heir to the American poet William Carlos Williams and distant cousin of Kafka’s boy immigrant sensation Karl Rossman, is forever an absurdist stumble away from falling into a satirical wormhole.
In his wanderings among Americans and “un-Americans,” Carlos leads us through a mirage of genres and historical lenses—memoirist fictions, essayistic stories, fables, anti-communist scripts. He comes to the Coney Island boardwalk only to arrive in his own mind at the shores of the Mediterranean. As he journeys from the golden age of Spain to the Statue of Liberty among East Coast Jewish Buddhist pilgrims going West, Carlos reinvents the rest of us as he remakes himself. In a Mecca of his own making in the heart of America, Carlos offers a prophetic new vision reconciling Islam and the American.
In the House Un-American maps the continual transformation of where and who Carlos is and where America might someday arrive with him. Benjamin Hollander’s astonishing work is essential reading for our times, a mythical projection of who we could be, radical proof that “America was fable before it became fact.”
Benjamin Hollander was born in Haifa, Israel, and immigrated to New York City as a boy; he now lives on the West Coast. He is the author of four previous books, including Rituals of Truce and the Other Israeli.
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