Reena Spaulings is a collectively-authored novel set in present-day New York. What is today? What is a city? These are two of the many questions this book sets out to ask. Like most novels, Reena Spaulings is a story about a twenty-something woman who works as a museum guard, is “discovered” and hired to model in an international advertising campaign, after which she gets fame and money, things change, the city experiences some very bad weather and strange new forms of social disobedience, and an idea is hatched to make a musical called “Battle Over Broadway,” a live song-and-dance-riot. It’s a story about a nobody who could be anybody becoming a somebody for everybody. It is a novel that tries to live the metropolitan life. Like Reena, the authors of this book are trying to live inside Reena Spaulings. Whatever is personal about their voices goes joyfully into the meticulous noise that is the collective music of this book. Like the book, whose authors are many and who abandon their identities to a common process, the New York City depicted herein tries to rethink itself as a collective experiment. Our lack of uniqueness, it seems to say, is the only thing we share today, besides our extreme separation. Reena Spaulings isn't the On The Road or The Great Gatsby of these times, which is to say that these times do not need or want those kinds of books. It is generic and perfect. It took less than three years to write. It is writing for everybody, by nobody, an overcrowded literary graveyard whose zombie author is called Bernadette Corporation.
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