Cornell’s air of mystery has attracted many literary admirers, from Octavio Paz to John Ashbery to Charles Simic, whose sequence of ekphrastic prose-poems, Dime-Store Alchemy, could be considered the most effective attempt to bottle up some of that cloud, that aura. Josipovici appears well-acquainted with these precursors, and perhaps it is partly thanks to their inspiration that he has now created his own Cornellian novel, named after a box filled with stars and scraps of paper: Hotel Andromeda. Josipovici has written briefly on Cornell before—notably in the allusive short stories “The Principle of Order” and “That Which Is Hidden Is That Which Is Shown; That Which Is Shown Is That Which Is Hidden.” However, Hotel Andromeda represents his first extended engagement with the artist. Characteristically though, when compared to those earlier sketches, the novel’s extent doesn’t encumber it with extraneous weight. Josipovici is a writer who prizes “lightness,” and his airborne prose never tethers or traps Cornell’s art; never encases it in the amber of comprehension. Rather, his narrative subtly circles around its subject, tracing the outlines of a shape which remains, to refer back to De Bolla, “untouchable, unknowable.”
My copy is already on its way. Read the David Winters piece in its entirety here.