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Scorch Atlas Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 February 2009
"Butler is an original force who is fearless with form... The design is appropriately disarming, an apt part of the overall barrage by this inventive and deeply promising young author." —Time Out New York

"Scorch Atlas doesn't make its point with narrative arc or character development or paragraphs or even the lovely, terrible sentences. Instead, it's the heaping of words — mauled bubbled clods knotted clogged rot foam mold growth cragged bugged curdle boils lumps ooze gunk stung and on and on — that press on you, as if you were being buried, drowned, dissolved, as if you were about to swallow your tongue." —The Boston Phoenix

"Scorch Atlas is quite possibly the most visceral book I’ve ever read." —Identity Theory

"Scorch Atlas is a fine example of experiment with purpose, of world building, of decadent, detailed and innovative writing. This is a book that should be read, and widely." —Pank Magazine

"Blake Butler has been doing great work... I've been looking around at people who publish smaller more personal books, things outside the mainstream, and totally original. Blake's one of these people. " —Three Guys One Book

"I can’t love Scorch Atlas. I think I fear it — its relentless and overwhelming vision, and the power Butler has to drill a hole in my chest with language. But Butler’s strange masterpiece doesn’t ask for your love. It demands your attention." —Eugene Weekly

"Whatever you say, Blake. At least until we all snuff it in one of [your] hideous apocalypses." —Dazed & Confused

"Scorch Atlas is a carefully and meticulously distraught world of language, a trembled and shaken line of thought, a vibrant dead trance of phrasing, the measure of words put together all and in the right ways. Blake Butler has made something enormous here."—J.A. Tyler, Tarpaulin Sky.

"Butler’s decaying worlds resemble the vistas of Steve Erickson in their dreamlike logic and those of J.G. Ballard in their sense of the subconscious eroding restraints mental and physical." —Interview with Tobias Carroll, for Flavorwire.

"Butler excels at forcing the familiar through the a sieve of strange until it is stripped clean of its everyday banality, until it is once again made so fresh you can smell the decay it contains, until you can taste the despair that threatens to destroy not just his characters but also the dangerous worlds they inhabit." —Matt Bell

"In the same way that Infinite Jest, written thirteen years ago, presupposed communication being fragmented via technology, in particular, the internet, Scorch Atlas presupposes a bleak, dystopian future (although let's hope it's farther off than thirteen years from now) where people bloat and grime, the world is a cracked shell of its former self and families do what they must to eke out an existence." —Keyhole Magazine

One of 20 relatively imminent things that [Dennis Cooper] is really looking forward to. —from his blog.

"Scorch Atlas is like The Book of Revelations written in first person." —BSC Review

"The stories, told in prose form, flash form, and longer form, hit a nerve with their explorations of a pain familiar to us all—family dysfunction. Performing as an ashen, crumbling work in our hands, the work urges us to push forward before it—and we—turn to dust." —Nicolle Elizabeth, Brooklyn Rail

"Buy Scorch Atlas by Blake Butler. Rip out your favorite story of the collection. Drop it to the ground and watch the pages flutter like ashen butterflies." —Outsider Writers Collective

"Butler’s prose is precise and muscular. The imagery is unrelenting. It’s gorgeous, and heartbreaking."—Dispatches from Utopia

Blake Butler’s Scorch Atlas is precisely that —a series of maps, or worlds, “tied so tight they couldn’t crane their necks.” Everything is either destroyed, rotting or festering—and not only the physical objects, but allegiances, hopes, covenants. Yet these worlds are not abstract exercises, he is speaking of life as it is, where there might be or may be, “glass over grave sites in display,” and where we will be forced to make or where we have “made facemasks out of old newspapers.” The sole glimmer of light comes in recollection, as in: 
“a bear the size of several men... There in the woods 
behind our house, when I was still a girl like you.”

—Jesse Ball, author of The Way Through Doors 
and Samedi the Deafness

There’s something so big about Blake Butler’s writing. Big as men’s heads. Each inhale of Blake’s wheeze brings streamers of loose hair, the faces of lakes and oceans, whales washed up half-rotten. You can try putting on a facemask made out of old newspaper. You can breathe 
in smaller rhythms. But you won’t be able to keep this man out once you’ve opened his book. Open it!

—Ken Sparling, author of Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall

I am always looking for new writers like Blake Butler and rarely finding them, but Scorch Atlas is one of those truly original books that will make you remember where you were when you first read it. Scorch Atlas is relentless in its apocalyptic accumulation, the baroque language stunning in its brutality, and the result is a massive obliteration.

—Michael Kimball, author of Dear Everybody

Out Now:
Scorch Atlas

Scorch Atlas
By Blake Butler

Butler is an original force who is fearless with form... The design is appropriately disarming, an apt part of the overall barrage by this inventive and deeply promising young author.—Time Out New York

A novel of 14 interlocking stories set in ruined American locales where birds speak gibberish, the sky rains gravel, and millions starve, disappear or grow coats of mold. In 'The Disappeared,' a father is arrested for missing free throws, leaving his son to search alone for his lost mother. In 'The Ruined Child,' a boy swells to fill his parents' ransacked attic. Rendered in a variety of narrative forms, from a psychedelic fable to a skewed insurance claim questionnaire, Blake Butler's full-length fiction debut paints a gorgeously grotesque version of America, bringing to mind both Kelly Link and William Gass, yet turned with Butler's own eye for the apocalyptic and bizarre.

Blake Butler is the author of EVER, a novella from Calamari Press. His work has appeared in Fence, Willow Springs, The Believer, Ninth Letter, and many others. He is the editor of Lamination Colony and No Colony, two experimental journals of new prose. He lives in Atlanta and blogs here.

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