"A pace amusingly brisk for a novel of ideas"
"Neat and affecting turns... Engrossing little satire"
-All Things Considered-- National Public Radio
"Hall-of-mirrors playfulness...suspenseful and well-managed
plot...ingeniously worked-out plot."
-San Francisco Chronicle
"A classy, easy-reading page turner, light of heart and bright of
mind...the pop, crackel and snap of some very lively dialogue...a literary
novel to be reckoned with."
-The Washington Post
"'Marx, Deceased' is another daring departure in a career
distinguished by daring departures."
-Atlanta Journal Constitution
To me the ultimate truth is fiction. In ancient Greece, whenever lawyers
met after some interesting case, they teased each other with "What
if that happened?" "What if he had done...?" "What if...?"
Supposedly, that was the origin of fiction. In any event, that is how I
write. I do serious research; I collect evidence; and then I proceed with
"But what if...?" It is a god-like feeling, creating people and
situations, passing judgment upon the creatures of your imagination. But
unlike a god, I am very sensitive to judgment of my own work. Preoccupied
with wanting to know what people really thought, I felt only posthumous
evaluations would give me that insight.
Most people are bound to judge my staged death as crazy. The two persons
who knew the facts, my friend Ambrose and you, thought me heartless, a verdict
to which I plead nolo contendere. D.H. Lawrence said, "You have
to have something vicious in you to be a creative writer." I am certain
that "heartless" can be substituted for "vicious." Comedians
always get a laugh when they claim the brain as their second most cherished
organ. Doesn't the audience always know the heart is not the other one?
But ask the question seriously. Would Pavarotti not cite his voice, Picasso
his eye or hand, Chanel her nose? What professional would list the heart?
A digression: is the world worse off if an author dies or had never lived?
With Shakespeare surely. But not with most writers, including Stephen Marx.
I considered that question in my interviews with scientists during my Cohen
phase. With them, the answer is more often "yes." Scientific research
is a collaborative activity, even among bitter competitors. Their work builds
on that of others. Even a mediocre scientist can boast that he sees farther
than some famous predecessor, because he is standing on his shoulders. By
contrast, our trade is solitary, not cooperative, and generally not progressive.
Genius among authors is frequently self-deluding narcissism-important to
the person, but not to society.
-from chapter 25 of Marx, Deceased
Hardback edition published (1996) by the University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia (telephone orders: (USA) 1-800-266-5842; (Internat.)
© 1996 by Carl Djerassi
go back to Home Page.