Fiction. Spanning the years 1987-2001, from just before the rise of the internet to just before 9/11, REMEDIA: A PICARESQUE engages readers in an unruly spiritual odyssey where, in Laynie Browne's words, "Vision becomes not just what we see with our eyes, but all that lodges itself in the inner eye—accompanying a traveler." REMEDIA's hero, a postmodern-day pícaro, joins a quirkily connected and diverse band of characters traveling together and separately via multiple planes in time on an unruly spiritual quest. Through its millefeuille of scrims, screens, apertures, and lenses the narrative creates what Kiese Laymon characterizes as "a lushness, a specificity and a fleshy spectacle." Its narrator's peregrinations take him to France, Ireland, San Francisco, and the Utah desert before he makes a phantasmagoric first foray through one of the portals.
Thereafter REMEDIA's exploration of late 20th century media culture prophetically transforms into a transgressive and tragicomic apocalypse taking the traveler to distant deserts and islands, both actual and spiritual. "The sequence of events is made to make sense by sheer deftness of Joyce's skill as a narrator," writes Johanna Drucker, "[a] willingness to use the unexpected as a structuring device, as well as an excuse to delight." As an exploration of our current, everyday dystopia of manufactured visions and trumped-up authoritarian spectacles, REMEDIA: A PICARESQUE takes its place alongside Joyce's gameworld novel, Disappearance (2012) also published by Steerage Press.
Remedia likewise follows upon what the American Book Review called the "glorious mash-up of references, found texts, allusions, mixed voices—plus characters, situations, travels, and travails" of its prequel, the "novel of internet" Was: Annales Nomadique, published by FC2. Yet where that prequel was fleeting, REMEDIA is grounded, and where each immerses readers in a forest of mirrors, in REMEDIA the mirrors give way to portals. Was presented readers with a relay of shifting narrators, but in REMEDIA its nameless narrator is a long-distance runner of the kind that, writing about Joyce's earlier work, Hélène Cixous termed "a subliminal explorer [who] sets off to explore mental regions that are generally neglected, as if they were forests or deserted islands."
Daniel Green @ Full Stop
MICHAEL JOYCE's sixteen books and several digital works span a career as novelist, poet, critic, theorist, digital literature pioneer, and multimedia artist. He lives along the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie where he is Professor Emeritus of English and Media Studies at Vassar College. Even before the pandemic, he says he began to think of himself as "an everyday monk, reluctant to frame this stage of my life in terms of what I am going to do, or how I feel, or in any other way that has 'now' as an antecedent. That is, I resist thinking it an end or beginning of something, but rather as a continual folding and unfolding along a dimensionless surface, not something but not nothingness." For more information, visit michaeljoyce.com.