Voices, by Kyle Muntz
I need to state at the outset that I don’t read much experimental fiction, so it was at first difficult to pull away the lens of more traditional plot and character structures when reading Kyle Muntz’s poetical prose novel Voices. But once I’d accomplished this, there is SO much to admire in this book.
For starters, Muntz is a hell of a good writer.
The prose is electric, vibrant, thrumming with vitality and interest. The theme of “voices” runs throughout the work — voices in the narrator’s head, voices in your head as you read and the phonation of Muntz’s poetry in prose form. The story, as much as I can speak of it, follows a narrator who is strangely absent. He is a poet, a would-be wanton, and a wanderer in a surreal city-scape with his friends.
The narrator’s voice is consistent, but as I say, it is almost as though the brilliant observations and music of his language is his only way to maintain his existence. Without it he would simply vanish into the singularity that is his soul.
Muntz’s work is intense. It’s clearly designed by a great intellect, which is why I found it so strange to have such an emotional reaction. The text can vary wildly, from incredibly vivid scenes of beauty to images that are filled with existential horror, particularly whenever he visits his friend Jacob. It seemed to me that some of the best scenes were of intimate encounters like this one:
on the veranda. It was her arms and mine, sanctified: soft smooth skin, running hands down her back running them up. The night didn’t call to us, because the night couldn’t call, but we were there and we were really there. She tasted like something that wasn’t moonlight. Scent and oranges, color, ellipsoid racing, we kissed. It started to rain. She didn’t pull away. The rain matted her hair to us, a fall of water. We kissed. Her essence and the rain, gorgeous,
Now, I have an intimation of another way that “voices” influences this story, but I won’t share it here and spoil the chance for you to find it yourself.
So if you’re into beautiful writing, and not afraid to stretch your understanding of narrative, you should definitely give this a go.