CCU: Part 1
Sun Sep 18, 2022 12:10

All serious work in fiction is autobiographical - Thomas Wolfe

The unspeakable visions of the individual - Jack Kerouac

Chuck, Close-Up - A Novel

For D.C. Berman


If true, the news that a nearly-complete manuscript of Chuck Glass's lost novel "Frankenstein" has been discovered would mark a new twist in the controversial career of the reclusive writer who left the literary scene over a decade ago. Mr. Glass, the author of three other novels, was previously counted among the most exciting voices in literature.

Titled "Frankenstein" the novel appeared to be a sleek mash-up of American Psycho, The Portrait of Dorian Gray and Dead Ringers, set in present-day New York City. From the plot outline we know that it was the tragic story of a young plastic surgeon named Jerome Stein, owner of the Veritas Clinic, one of the most exclusive private practices in Manhattan, whose life and career is derailed after a consultation with Viva, the vain and beautiful teenage daughter of a wealthy hedge-fund manager. Viva's utmost desire is to become the physically "ideal" woman. The encounter with the young woman whose sphinx-like visage conceals a shocking spiritual vacancy repels the doctor but he agrees to further consultation hoping to dispel her plans. However, with each consultation, he finds his initial impression of Viva contradicted. In a surprising Gestalt, instead of seeing her hideous lack of self, Stein only sees the fearful symmetry of her iron will and cold logic. Despite his initial reluctance and the implications of taking her on as a patient, he ignores his instincts. During surgery, Viva's heart stops and after several attempts to revive her, she dies on the operating table, her mouth frozen in a slight grin. In the immediate aftermath of her death, rumours alleging various forms of misconduct surrounding the clinic emerge. Faced with legal action and charges of malpractice, Stein's personal and financial fortunes decline sharply. Guilt-ridden and haunted by the young woman's death, he becomes increasingly obsessed with the notion of reviving her. In a state of despair, Stein seeks sexual gratification from escorts who bear a resemblance to the deceased girl. Finally losing his grip on sanity, Stein begins murdering these high-priced prostitutes and assembling a patchwork corpse of his ideal Viva.

The novel purportedly ended with Stein waking up from a fevered dream to find his dismembered life returned to its previous state, his career intact and Viva not only alive but engaged to be married to him. The realization that Viva is still alive makes her personality seem all the more terrifying and forces Stein to question whether he could really have done the things he imagined, whether under Viva's influence his morality is only skin-deep. Critics speculated about the meaning of the ending, who the monster was meant to be, Viva or Stein himself.

The book remains unpublished. An entire section of the novel, written from Viva's point-of-view can be found in The New Yorker. The inclusion of certain auto-biographical elements in the story fuelled rumours that swirled around the divorce of Mr. Glass and his agent and wife Heaven Evangelie. Mr. Glass could not be reached for comment.

-Terrence Halperin, New York Times, Arts Section, September 3rd, 2019

Part 1

As he sat inside his local public library, a building that was bright, airy and calm, he found himself thinking about This was nothing unusual. His mind was a loud and hostile environment. To the outside world, he was a gaunty, vaguely middle-aged man, youthful but no longer young. His once curly dirty-blond hair had migrated to his temples and was now tinged with grey, all the more noticeable in sunlight. The greasy keyboard he typed on didn’t bother him much. Everything leaves behind a residue. But the primitive interface of the computer and its web browser upset his equilibrium. The fonts and buttons belonged on a Gutenberg printing press, he thought to himself. Despite his distaste for the browser, it performed its function adequately enough, allowing him to channel the visions that gathered, mingled in and occasionally sprang forth from his imagination. For the better part of a decade he had been on a complete digital media fast and now he was breaking it. There was no computer in his spacious condominium a mere two blocks away from where he now sat at a keyboard, typing away. A trip to the library was a significant occasion for him given his rather simple and repetitive routine.

Before he left New York, Chuck had begun to tire of the city. In Manhattan, people spend all their time on customer service calls, lifetimes worth of wasted hours. It was a city where people line up to use public bathrooms. He drank too much and ate too little. He barely slept. The offers dried up. Aside from writing for magazines, a piece here and there, his output was minimal and he hated what he wrote. Between therapy and hours of online solitaire he had ceased doing much of anything. He tried Al Anon but it didn’t take. Heaven talked to him about kids but this did not register the way she hoped it would. He began to feel the noose of life tightening around him. Thatʼs when he started noticing the airplanes. The planes would follow him for ten years before their activity gradually ceased, only to reappear in short random bursts. It took another three years, an unremarkable period of mental poverty, for this shadow on his brain to lift and now he found himself at his local library on a windless, sun-bleached afternoon in late May. The lightbeams that pierced the building’s gabled skylight had travelled millions of years from a distant conflux of burning balls of fire to arrive in his direct line of sight but it only took him a few seconds to dismiss this light as commonplace, library light.

  • Whoops Redjeans , Sat Sep 17 21:22
    Sorry. I accidentally deleted the thread by stupidly using my cellphone to edit my post. I will re-upload it soon. Have a good Saturday night. Appreciate the encouraging comments.
    • CCU: Part 1 Redjeans, Sun Sep 18 12:10
      • Cont. Redjeans, Sun Sep 18 12:12
        In retrospect, when thinking about his former life, it was as if he had been beamed up into a giant television screen like the ones on Broadway. In some existential sense, he had been transformed,... more
        • Cont. Redjeans, Sun Sep 18 12:13
          He felt a sudden need to make a change, to jump on a plane, to change his name, his town, his life. He had stalemated himself, backed himself into a corner by agreeing to Heaven’s proposal. He knew... more
          • Cont. Redjeans, Sun Sep 18 12:15
            Gradually, over several months and with increasing intensity over the course of a week before the phone call, his dream, his only dream, repeated itself endlessly, even while he was awake. In an... more
    • Re: loud SJBB person Hello Redjeans :-) Regards, etc.!, Sun Sep 18 04:19
      Re: loud SJBB person AA thread commentary *wasn’t* very good at all ie ‘beer-buzz bullshit*.. but Yes, *Your Writings* were very very good!! Please only re-post Your Writings/Novel&Short Stories... more
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