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Artificial Light


A new installment in Dennis Cooper’s “Little House on the Bowery” series.

$15.95 $11.96

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What people are saying…

California Book Award Silver Medal for First Fiction winner.

“Greer does a superb job of transcending conventional genrefication, bringing something fresh to contemporary literature . . . A very enjoyable read [with a] highly inventive structure, full of eccentricities and rock music factoids . . .”
Library Journal

Artificial Light skates on the purity of confession. It’s a brutal reveal; an Abyss Narrative with hooks. Read it in a rush of abomination and rise above, rise above.”
—Stephen Malkmus

“When is flight not-flight? How does a dead (very dead) celebrity manage to be not-dead? Why are Dayton, Ohio, and not-Dayton so endgame-compatible? James Greer eats being and non-being for breakfast, and his tale is one of Parmenidian oompah and shebang. As apocalyptic page-turners go, Artificial Light beats the bejeezus out of the last dozen Thomas Pynchons, the last nineteen Don DeLillos, and the last forty-three Kurt Vonneguts. I wouldn’t shit ya.”
—Richard Meltzer, author of A Whore Just Like the Rest

“Fiat Lux gleams like an onyx from a vivid and darkly mythical world. She is impossible to forget and her skewed cynicism and solipsistic melancholy linger long after you’ve turned the final page. Greer’s writing is lean and poetic, shot through with sagacious observations and demented humor, but at the heart of his strange semi-sci fi world there is a huge human tenderness, moments of heart-rending lyrical beauty, and a rabid, breathtaking imagination.”
—Helen Walsh, author of Brass


A selection of Dennis Cooper’s Little House on the Bowery series.

In 1994, a young woman named Fiat Lux donates twenty-one notebooks full of her writings to a university library and then disappears. It’s only later that her close relationship with a well known rock musician who had recently committed suicide is discovered, and the notebook’s contents become the subject of growing fascination, conjecture, and gossip. Intending to satisfy the public’s insatiable curiosity about the rock star and throw light on the author’s rumored involvement in his now infamous death, and, more importantly, hoping to make a case for her remarkable writings as a work of literature, the university’s press has decided to publish her notebooks in a single volume under the title she had given them, Artificial Light.

Set in the mythological land of Dayton, Ohio, Artificial Light is part historical novel, part science fiction, part sociological study, part murder mystery. Stunningly written in prose that is poetic, gripping, and highly adventurous, Artificial Light may be the first American novel to successfully treat the alternative rock scene of the 1990s as a subject for serious literature. James Greer has written a novel at once completely original in its form, composition, and outlook and yet as classically pleasurable and informative as any work of contemporary fiction in memory.


Book Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Published: 7/1/06
  • IBSN: 9781933354002
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750854


JAMES GREER is the author of The Failure, Artificial Light (which won a California Book Award for Best Debut Novel), and the nonfiction book Guided By Voices: A Brief History (Grove), a biography about a band for which he once played bass guitar. He is currently working on a rock musical about Cleopatra starring Catherine Zeta-Jones. He lives in Los Angeles.

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