john bennett | what makes a novel?

Tire Grabbers by John Bennett

click the cover if you are interested in buying this book…

What makes a novel?

When my novel Tire Grabbers first came out, there were two distinct and very opposite camps of reaction: those who devoured the book in a few days and passed it along to friends, feeling it captured the deep undercurrents of what is happening to our world in an ongoing sense, and those who felt it was chaotic and without structure.

The former camp was made up mostly (but not exclusively) of disenfranchised youth, often musicians and artists, while the latter group consisted largely (but not exclusively) of the highly educated, many of whom were writers themselves. Interestingly enough, these opposing camps correspond to two opposing camps in the novel, Dreamers and Hunters.

I’ve refrained from making a formal response to or analysis of these polar-opposite reactions (if you don’t know jazz when you hear it, I can’t tell you what it is), but recently, in an interview with the Czech novelist Milan Kundera, conducted by Philip Roth, I ran across this statement by Kundera that I’d like to pass on to whoever is bivouacked in camp #2:

“It is a mistake to regard a certain stereotyped structure as the inviolable essence of the novel….a novel is a long piece of synthetic prose based on play with invented characters. These are the only limits….the unity of a book need not stem from the plot, but can be provide by the theme…”

I doubt this quote will change anyone’s opinion of Tire Grabbers, but I think it’s the most significant book I’ve ever written, and if you haven’t checked it out yet but would like to, hell, send me a ten spot (that’s ten dollars to the highly educated) which almost covers print and postage costs, and I’ll mail a copy your way.

click the Hcolom Press logo to visit the web page...HCOLOM PRESS is the heir to Vagabond Press, which began as a main player in the Mimeo Revolution of the Sixties and continued publishing right into the jaws of the new millennium. HCOLOM PRESS embodies the spirit of Vagabond Press, retooled for the times we live in.

Hcolom is Moloch spelled backwards. Moloch is an Old Testament deity to which children were sacrificed, a practice society still engages in with increased enthusiasm. Consumerism is the new Moloch, manifesting itself like cancer in war, politics, the arts and religion, in every nook and cranny of human endeavor, draining the intrinsic beauty out of life and mutilating the innocence and magic of childhood with its commercial meat hook. HCOLOM PRESS intends to publish books that by their nature repudiate this pernicious force–novels, poetry, children’s books and books that transcend genre.

Our launch book, in June of 2006, was John Bennett’s novel, Tire Grabbers, a fable of sorts, a reality book rooted in the fantasy of our times, the story of the coming of Moloch and the children who rise up in rebellion against it.

Books of kindred spirit will follow close on its heels. Go for it by clicking here… or hit the Hcolom logo above…

Please Note: Tire Grabbers exist also as an Audio Book in format mp3. Please go here…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.