At Bookslut, Lorian Long provides a stellar review of entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2011).
I could not sleep with Johannes Göransson’s Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate close to my head. I dreamt the characters coming to life inside my studio apartment, competing as contestants in an ultimate horror show, which is what happens in the book’s hundred brilliant, nasty pages. Despite the tiny size of Colonial Pageant, it contains a gore so massive you will either shower or move the book to the other side of the bedroom upon opening its cover….
Göransson’s Colonial Pageant is a production that would make the Viennese Actionist performances look like preschool plays. Characters like Little American Girl shoot a gun at the audience; Charlotte Brontë is set on fire; a stagehand castrates himself with a box cutter; a birth is performed onstage using a live horse, hammers, and unsharp razor-blades. No walls could contain such mess, though there are explicit instructions for two stages to be “an abandoned factory in downtown South Bend, IN” and “a mall.” These everyday stages are asylums, showrooms for the pageantry of psychosis that disguises itself as humanity. I thought of Burroughs’s Penny Arcade Peep Show from The Wild Boys, where boys look up at the ceiling to see four screens projecting images of colored pinwheels, fireworks, murder, phalluses, pyramids — a spectacular kind of viewing, and perhaps similar to the way it might feel to experience a performance of Colonial Pageant, a sense of vertigo as you watch things happen so quickly, so atrociously, you feel sick with sight.
Language falls from the mouths of characters like loose teeth as monologue after monologue of proclamation, confession, and damnation shatter any pretense we might have when considering if this is a work of poetry or fiction or whatever. It is a dangerous language, a murderous kind, both aiming and exploding with chaotic precision….
Body parts, body styles. Genitalia as fashion, as construct, as exploit. Göransson takes Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity and blasts it with skin-made dynamite. He creates such a mess of appendages, desires, and impulses that the taglines of Queer Theory or Gender Studies seem antiquated compared to the blurring of binaries to be found in this work. It is a new thing. Göransson has managed to produce a discomfiting, filthy, hilarious, and ecstatic piece of literature that is cocked and ready.
Read the full review at Booklsut.
Peek inside, and read more about, entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate