A man becomes obsessed with expanding his body, putting on weight and enlarging himself until he swallows his surroundings. Another man is imprisoned by his own reflection, a reflection that spawns countless new reflections without end. And while one man consumes the disembodied essence of his siblings, experiencing memories that aren't actually his, others lose their wives to imaginary gods or grieve the collapse of families that don't even exist.
Part Borges, part Calvino, part Hieronymous Bosch, the eerie fictions of Gabriel Blackwell offer warped reflections of domestic lives in turmoil, relationships on the brink. In these funhouse mirror distortions of identity crises and lovers' disputes, entropy deforms reality and destroys the fragile bonds between people. As would-be parents struggle with the difficulties of conception, stories half-told gestate new stories within a miasma of yet more stories. As children survey the lives of their elders, dwelling on the paths not taken, they find their own identities fracturing into kaleidoscopes of unrealised possibilities.
Reader, be warned: Babel does not stand on solid ground. The abyss will open beneath you and devour your world. Enter at the risk of plunging in, with nothing in the depths to break your fall.
About the Author
Gabriel Blackwell's Madeleine E. was named a Best Book of 2016 by VICE, The Believer, Essay Daily, Gulf Coast, and Drawn & Quarterly. He is the author of CORRECTION (Rescue Press, 2021), Babel (Splice, 2020), and CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON (Noemi Press, 2013). His fictions and essays have appeared in Conjunctions Tin House, Post Road, LARB, and many other places. He is the editor of the magazine The Rupture.