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Thread: Evan Dara.

  1. #1
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    Default Evan Dara.

    I recently grabbed the play he/she stuck online for free, but the books cost a bit so haven't managed to get hold of any of them yet.

    It's interesting that there's literally nothing about him/her in places like NYT, the New Yorker and so on. I'd have thought that they'd have picked up on the stuff by now, unless there's some bad blood between Dara and the publishing industry, hence the self-publishing and anonymity.

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    Evan Dara is an American novelist. He has published three novels, which are concerned with subjects including social atomization, music, political dysfunction, epistemology, ecology, and time. The Times Literary Supplement (London) called Dara "one of the most exciting American novelists writing today."[1]

    Widely believed to be using a pseudonym, Dara has given no interviews and has issued no photographs, and has chosen to publish his novels through his own press, Aurora. His work has been almost totally unacknowledged by the commercial American literary community—Australian critic Emmett Stinson has called Dara "the best-kept secret in all of contemporary American literature"—but he has received exceptional acclaim from underground and alternative sites.[2][3][4][5][6] His books have been the subject of numerous scholarly articles and theses, and have been taught in dozens of colleges and universities across the world.

    This includes a course in Madrid called "In Search of the Great American Novel," where Dara's work was read alongside that of Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon, and Toni Morrison.[7] The only other writer of Dara's generation to be included in this survey was David Foster Wallace.[8]

    In 1995, his first novel, The Lost Scrapbook, won the 12th Annual FC2 Illinois State University National Fiction Competition judged by William T. Vollmann.[9] Dara's second novel, The Easy Chain, was published by Aurora Publishers in 2008. A third novel, Flee, was published by Aurora in 2013.

    On July 26, 2018, Dara released his first play, titled Provisional Biography of Mose Eakins. The play was only offered in eBook form (ePub, Mobi, and PDF), and the publisher stipulated that readers should download it for free and only make a donation after they finish it.

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    As opposed to other reclusive American writers such as J.D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, and Harper Lee, nothing is known about Dara's background or the reasons why he writes under a pseudonym. And unlike the pseudonymous Elena Ferrante, Dara has never given an interview or commented on his books. However, he has responded on separate occasions about the influence of William Gaddis on his style. In an indirect reply to a query from the critic Tom LeClair—in which he confirmed that he uses a pseudonym—Dara denied having read either The Recognitions or J R.[10] In 2014, the critic Steven Moore followed up on this question:

    “Asked about Gaddis’s possible influence, Dara told me that while working on The Lost Scrapbook he heard that J R was a novel in dialogue and checked it out from The American Library in Paris: ‘Took the novel home, plunked it open, tapped it shut — didn’t want the influence’ (email January 19, 2014).”

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    The first edition of The Lost Scrapbook was published in 1995 by Fiction Collective Two, or FC2, which was then based at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. The manuscript was originally brought to the publisher's attention by novelist Richard Powers, who described how he received it:

    “Several kilos of transatlantic, boat-rate typescript arrived on my stoop without prior warning of contents, and I’ve been grateful ever since. Dara shows how a novel can be experimental, yet moral, rule breaking but emotional, and post-humanist while still remaining deeply human. This scrapbook builds in stretches until the whole police blotter cum family album lies open in aerial view. Monumental, unforgiving, cunning and heartfelt, it lets no one off the hook, least of all the reader.”[12][13]

    The mystery surrounding Dara combined with the fact that Powers very rarely provides blurbs led some to speculate that Powers might be the man behind the nom de plume

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    I feel totally ignorant now. Thanks for bringing him (or her) to my attention. Sounds like someone I should read. Nothing to add to the debate though obviously... except, I bet it is Powers, it's always the guy who "received" the manuscript.

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    Although if it is him he is deeply lacking in modesty.

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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    Although if it is him he is deeply lacking in modesty.
    Yeah, for that reason, I hope it isn't him. Jesus.

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