W. T. Vollman's Rising Up and Rising Down is finally available for ordering from McSweeney's. An excerpt was published in McSweeney's No. 9, and it was totally compelling reading: a record of Vollman's visits to the Paris catacombs and a Chicago autopsy room, and his correspondence with a friend in Sarajevo. For me, the prose in that piece has the rare and magical quality of being simultaneously discursive and magnetic; it tugs me along even as it spirals and loops unpredictably around its unbearable subject like a plot of the Lorenz attractor.
Rising Up and Rising Down stands a long way from the snarky po-mo pop-culture in-jokes on McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Vollman's book is a serious piece of work; and given its seven volumes (weighing 20 lbs. in total), and its undoubtedly miniscule audience, it's a nearly heroic effort on the part of the McSwys crew to publish it.
I'll definitely be ordering a set, however thinly it stretches my shabby grad student finances. That is, if the limited print run hasn't sold through by tomorrow.