Robert Lopez: Part of the World

Part of the World

A Novel

Robert Lopez

182 pages

ISBN 0-9770723-8-X


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Robert Lopez reading from Part of the World:

Part of the World is a fugue in both a musical and psychological sense. It is a canonical juggernaut of lyrical language—ever dissolving, devolving, shifting, then reconstituting itself into a new knowledge of reality. This language comes straight from a compulsive mind in a Quixotic state—ceaselessly harping on the everyday perturbations and peculiarities of our humdrum lives—our cars, apartments, health, finances. But if you relax your focus as if staring at some sort of holographic fractal, with each part containing the whole, the superficial meaning is purged, layer by layer, peeling back and revealing the subtext of what the mind is capable of under the burden of trauma and accountability.

"Robert Lopez has written a darkly hilarious exploration of the trickery of memory, the unreliability of personal history, and the strangeness, even uncanniness, of our daily transactions. As we follow Lopez's hapless narrator about the business of trying to navigate his homely part of the world, we are made to reconsider our own well-mapped relations, the unhygienic corners of our homes." 

—Dawn Raffel 

"Reading Part of the World by Robert Lopez felt to me like standing in front of one of those marvelous, mind-bending exhibits at the Museum of Jurassic Technology that seem at first glance to be doing exactly nothing and at second glance to be dissolving and reconstituting reality as we thought we knew it. Literary pleasures like this are all too uncommon." 

—Laird Hunt

"The prose found in Robert Lopez's new novel, Part of the World, is as flat as this piece of paper but as deep as the deepest well. The world this world is a part of is an affectless poetics planet caught in the black-hole gravity of a Stephen Dixon-esque free-falling narrative sink. Stranger than The Stranger, it is a relentless, droll, blinkless, book."

—Michael Martone

"Part of the World is a gripping read, ominous, blackly hilarious and psychologically acute."

—Jason Jones, from review in Mid-American Review


"In his first novel, Robert Lopez leads the reader into a peculiar “part of the world” on his own terms. The novel itself deals with the everyday actions of the narrator, from renting an apartment to buying a used car. However, these tasks become yard sticks by which one must measure the narrator himself and his sense of reality. By the end of the novel, the reader is forced to question the validity of everything the narrator has said, as a new, obfuscated yet elucidated reality begins to appear."

... read the rest of the review by Leigh Murphy in Verse.

"Beyond any discussion of occurrence in Part of the World, though, the real treasure here is Lopez's writing. He's so in control of his character's voice and the layering of thought that to call him a more pleasantly imbibed Beckett seems precise. Part of the World is a book to be read with delight and wonder—and some slight miffing that it's over."

... read the rest of the review by Blake Butler in Rain Taxi

The narrator's neuroses are, at first, unremarkable, but they intensify and the result is a snowballing effect, an imperceptible building of madness and memory that takes on a distinctly sinister aspect that was only hinted at in earlier pages."

—Jeff Waxman, from review in The Review of Contemporary Fiction

"As a revelation, then, of the ultimate emptiness on which we all levitate, Lopez's book succeeds wonderfully. It succeeds even more wonderfully as a textual trace of the movement of consciousness ..."
—Matthew Roberson, American Book Review

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