On Camp Concentration

I just finished reading Camp Concentration a couple days ago, and after letting it simmer some, I have some things to say about it.

Essentially, the novel is about a poet. In short summary: Louis Sacchetti is a poet who dodges the draft. Instead of being imprisoned, he is sent to a corporate facility for R+D, though we never learn precisely for who or what. He soon realizes that the other inmates at the facility have a form of syphilis that turns them into, well, absolute geniuses.

The novel progresses from there. Disch, a complex writer, presents us with a lot of talk about the nature of the physical world, alchemy, and racial politics. I got the feel that Ditsch was a less drugged out version of Philip K. Dick, but this novel is a lot more than that, and more, it gave me a kind of hope when I was finished. I hope that you will, you know, read the book, and for that reason I’m not going to spoil it.

What I do want to say a little bit about, though, is the way that fiction operates in the book. It is written as a journal narrative, and in that narrative multiple fictions seem to rise and fall, to peak and sublimate. There is a section where the protagonist is blind, and then suddenly is not blind, and while the recovery might not be true, the fiction of sight is emotionally riveting. There’s something to the constant rhythm of the book that is just beautiful.

Anyway, I will leave you with a quote.

In summary: I liked this book, and I think anybody who likes books about painters and devils would like it too. – p.83

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