Porgy and Bess is both artfully daring and morally engaging, a wonderful instance of “passionate virtuosity.” Here, the detective novel’s obsession with the grounded rationality of evidence floats away through voices that hang gloomily together, a whole of irresolvable parts. Porgy and Bess is both the death of the detective novel and its beautiful rebirth.
About Jeffrey DeShell
Masses and Motets
Jeffrey DeShell has managed to make the form of the crime novel erudite, challenging, and entertaining at the same time. What a wonderful trompe l’oeil, a true literary experiment and adventure. This is a truly fine piece of work.
The Trouble with Being Born
In The Trouble with Being Born, the parents trade riffs, mother and father telling their stories in short, staccato sentences. Jeffrey DeShell’s writing of them gets under the skin, the way parents’ “autobiographies” also live under their children’s lives. DeShell is a daring, intelligent, hard-eyed, and tenderhearted writer, all of which is abundantly evident in his wonderful new novel.
An avant-noir tour de force, Jeffrey DeShell’s Arthouse is an architecturally stunning exploration of how we are all thought by cinema. Peopled by tweakers, dealers, killers, a woman hostage, and an ex-con academic, set in a blasted corner of the New West, and shot through the lenses of fourteen films, this extraordinary novel appropriates and celebrates a multiplicity of filmic vocabularies and points of view, even as it turns family into a Fellini, sex into a Suzuki, and the world into a series of eccentric angles, incommensurate scripts, and beautiful, stylized, joco-serious, self-reflexive textual double exposures.
Jeffrey DeShell has published eight novels, most recently Masses and Motets in 2019. He was a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in Budapest, and has taught in Northern Cyprus, the American Midwest and Bard College. Currently he is a Professor of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He splits his time between Boulder and upstate NY, with the novelist Elisabeth Sheffield and their twin boys.