And now, 15 long years after that debut, Schwartz is out with his second book, John the Posthumous, which his new publisher, OR Books, calls “a novella in objects.” o call this book a novella is a bit like calling a spaceship a motor vehicle: while the label might be factually true, it’s also wildly inaccurate and inadequate.

This book, like its predecessor, is immaculately plotless, a whirlwind of objects, etymologies, histories (including a history of the American bed), Biblical citations, sisters, adultery, insects, murder. Again, there is an air of ruin, and of relentless unreliability. Here’s how the book got its title: ”The foregoing ignores — or mistakes — several details. Cuckold’s Point, according to the map I have in hand, is closer to Evelyn than to Deptford. And Brockwell, strictly speaking, does not exist — in London, anyway. Furthermore, the horned figure — now gone — was not a gallows, in fact, but a simple post. It had been exhibited at a fair — the Horn Fair — in celebration of a king’s cuckolding. Which king? King Richard or King Edward. (John the Posthumous — usually rendered in red — was a French king, alive for five days.)”

Read the full review at the Millions.

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