Toronto: Mercury House, 2004.
First printing. 110 pp., 8.5 x 11 inches. Perfect-bound in printed wrappers. As new, signed by the author. Item #4595
. . . if a man could write a book on Ethics which really was a book on Ethics, this book would, with an explosion, destroy all the other books in the world. (Ludwig Wittgenstein)
An apikoros, in the Jewish tradition, is one who has forfeited their share in the world to come; someone who is lax in their observance or disbelieves; a skeptic or an atheist. Apikoros Sleuth is “a murder mystery in the form of a Talmudic inquiry. In an unlikely and extraordinary combination of genres, the author weaves together over the surface of every page a breathtaking whodunit, a poetic exploration of the limits of language, and a philosophical inquiry on the terrain of ethics, issues of life, death, guilt and community.”
Simultaneously an artist’s book and a work of experimental prose, evoking (for this reader) works by Samuel Beckett, Raymond Federman, Paul Zelevansky, and others, Apikoros Sleuth is also a virtuoso exploit of mise en page, in which long traditions of book design, scriptural exegesis and commentary, and modern art are brought into an explosive confrontation.
The form of Apikoros Sleuth is based on that of the Talmud, in which a central sacred text is surrounded by the commentaries of scholars and sages accumulated over more than a thousand years. This layout evolved through centuries of copying by hand, and features narrow justified columns and dense pages.
Robert Majzels is the author of the novels kHarLaMoV's aNkLe: A Utopian Fantasy, City of Forgetting, and Scrapbook, and the full-length play This Night the Kapo; he has translated from the French several novels by France Daigle, a collection of short stories and a novella by Anne Dandurand and, with Erin Moure, two books of poetry by Nicole Brossard. He lives in British Columbia.
“Have mercy on these sentences.”.