Adam Thirlwell’s beautiful circus of a book, The Delighted States, serves as a welcome guide to the idea of literature as not just something that springs fully formed from the mind of a genius (or hack), but is instead a process with a historical lineage that must be taken into consideration; literature does not emerge from a vacuum. For those concerned that Thirlwell is one of those theorists unable to contemplate literature outside of its context, rest assured, he’s hardly immune to the gut-level attractions of great literature. Thirlwell admiringly quotes Nabakov, who said “what makes a work of fiction safe from larvae and rust is not its social importance but its art, only its art.”
The Delighted States will be in stores later this month. You can read the full review at PopMatters.