If this is a tale of anything, it’s one of cuckoldry (John the Posthumous’s three sections are “Hornbook,” “Housepost, Male Figure” and “Adulterium”), and ensuing matricide/infanticide — every so often, the narrator will speak in the first person, and through these rare moments, we can infer, with the help of a not-too-generous back-cover description, that he has been cheated on, then, it seems, killed his wife and children, and afterwards, perhaps, become an unreliable historian and written this . . . thing. Despite the titular specificity of the sections, the division of the book into its three parts seems a mere formality — the voice and rhythm are adamantly static, providing little in the way of revelation from chapter to chapter. Just as every description reads as an erroneous passage in a madman’s encyclopedia, the differentiation between chapters reads as another decoy from a deeply hidden story, another false and distorted factoid…

Through the abstract beauty, blood and rot of this book, the first person surfaces from the heaps of inanimate objects, reminding us that, despite Schwartz’s anonymizing lists of “household accidents,” beds through the ages, and colonial Pennsylvanian architecture, there’s one specific man with one specific (murdered) family at the heart of this book. These moments keep the reader going, and lead us to think we’re wandering toward epiphany (we probably aren’t).

Read the full review at Full Stop Magazine.

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