"Not Not"

Slotnick, Alexander, Creative Writing - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Alison, Jane, Creative Writing Program, University of Virginia

The first draft of "Not Not," a novel. It is the sometimes unhinged, always energetic, notebook of a man who has received a credible death threat that he’s chosen to ignore.

Newly married, prone to cracking jokes of nightmarish taste, he finds himself the potential victim of an internationally renowned painter who was once the executioner for a Mexican drug cartel. Beginning in the scenic foothills of San Miguel de Allende, alighting in a lonely apartment in New York’s Upper West Side, and arriving eventually in the actual streets of Hell, "Not Not" is a story written in “real-time,” as the looming promise of violence creeps ever closer. Our hero finds himself existentially paralyzed, unable to muster the agency to resist, while writing becomes his only act of defiance. The novel explores random acts of bloodshed in contemporary America, memory in digital culture, a strained romantic relationship, and, finally, after the dreaded meeting with the artist, a vision of the banality of the afterlife — a state of existence as horrifyingly passive as the narrator himself. Presented as the fragmented journal of the man, the book’s unconventional form is reminiscent of work by David Markson or Renata Adler — a mash-up of "Speed Boat" with Camus’ "The Stranger."

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
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