Visions of Tastelessness: Rauan Klassnik and Aase Berg

by on Feb.24, 2013

Rauan Klassnik wrote up a good discussion about Aase Berg’s Dark Matter (I translated it, Black Ocean just published it) on Facebook. Here’s an excerpt:

“Kitsch” is a word that Göransson and Berg seem to like. Berg describes her own books, Dark Matter and With Deer, as being “almost sickeningly Kitschy.” And, yeah, I agree. Almost. Almost. And sometimes completely.

In this instance I am thinking of Kitsch because of the wonderful early Star Trek tropical fantasy worlds suggested by lines like

“Orchards of flower meal, peonies of meat.”

And this quickly, though, erupts into a kitschy and beautiful disaster flick:

“red heat above the cities where the war is blossoming. . .the velvet butterflies explode…”

And while we’re on the subject of Sci-Fi Kitsch I’ll just mention that this book, like Donald Dunbar’s Eyelid, sometimes reminds me of the animated Aeon Flux:

“He bent into the kiss and sucked up the fat liquid with his sticky feeler.”


The “Exotic Orient”: in the soft heart of the Star Trek Kitsch worlds we find perhaps or perhaps not surprisingly “A young Chinese girl who stares at us from her obscured position” and then a bit later “the Gulf Stream turns in the tropics toward Asia’s happy sinking cities” and, then, again “lanterns rose and fell from the city’s tallest Ferris Wheel.”

The Actuary interviews Rauan Klassnik here.


Yeah, “decadent” is a word i hear a lot about my work, especially my new book. (I hear it a lot out of my own mouth also). And I feel pretty good about this word. I mean, i think it’s valid. Of course, like most words it can cut both ways. It’s decadent so it’s bullshit. Or, cool, it’s decadent. (lights, fireworks, chocolates and eternal orgasms). One of the dangers (limitations?) of decadent, really decadent work, is that it can spiral, rot. And/or flatten out. Again this cuts both ways. How much spiral’s too much? How much rot’s too much? I dunno. For the most part i think i stayed on the safe or safe-ish while writing and making this book. But then again i probably crossed over, and over, certain lines of good/bad taste and good/bad literary sense. But, really, if you want to tip over some cows you’re probably going to get some shit on your feet. And while you’re at it why not roll around in it some. Why not climb inside that cow?…

Paul Cunningham interview RK here.


My feelings about making people “visibly distressed” are mixed these days. When, four or five years ago, I was reading from Holy Land I occasionally would look up and zone in on someone who seemed a bit, or more, bewildered by what was coming out of my mouth and this was encouraging. But it was encouraging, I think, because I was achieving a kind of solidarity with the audience. Holy Land, you see, is I think mostly a victim book. The universe is fucked up. Bad things happen. And in Holy Land I stand with a fist against that and this is something a lot of people can relate to and even champion. But in The Moon’s Jaw the vibe’s more decadent. More Bad Caesar. More perverse, self-indulgent and monstrous—and I guess I’m not yet 100% comfortable with being a monster, in person, that disturbs, distresses and grosses people out. This is something I need to work on.

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