Suspend Your Disbelief

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New Yorkers: Slow down and… read the novel pages.

Image credit: Joe Schumacher, via Gothamist

Image credit: Joe Schumacher, via Gothamist

New Yorkers are not known for slowing down and looking around. But a stunt by an anonymous novelist may be getting them to do just that. Someone has been pasting pages of his (or her) novel, “Holy Crap,” to lampposts around the East Village, transforming the streets into a kind of choose-your-own-adventure—or literary Burma Shave ad. Reports Yahoo!:

Pages began mysteriously appearing on lightpoles in the city’s East Village neighborhood. As of yet, nobody has come forward to claim the work. So far, eight pages in total have made their way to the public. […]

At the bottom of that page, readers are told to go to a different location to find the next installment. And that direction, of course, raises plenty of logistical mysteries for readers hooked on the initial installments, among them: Just how long is this book and how many pages will there be?

Predictably, some don’t like the idea:

At least one local curmudgeon is fully against this expression of creativity, and told the paper, “Honestly, I don’t like the idea. I hate it when people just post things everywhere. They have the Internet, why don’t they use that?”

The big question, of course, is: is this novel any good? Here’s an excerpt, so you can judge for yourself:

“No. No thank you. Um, no.”

Then the baby is on a chest. She is wrapped in a white blanket with green trim. A pink hat is pushed on the small head. The smallest baby looks around. She already looks around. She knows how to lie there and her eyes move up and down. A new universe arrives within a universe. I watch her and have no idea how she does that. She closes her eyes and sleeps. I think she is beautiful.

[…] I lean against a plate glass window and watch her sleep in the small plastic hospital crib. In my memory, I peer down to read the name on the small crib: “Lily McCarthy.”

I blink my eyes and focus on the baby lying near me. “Lily McCarthy,” I say.

Lily seems a few months older than my memory. Her face is fleshed out and her dark hair covers her head.

I grit my teeth and fight through the pain and reach out to the baby. Lily stretches one hand to me and smiles. The pain is so bad my eyes water, but I move to the baby and attempt to push myself up.

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