Review of Zeroville by Steve Erickson, Wash Post

Here’s my review of Zeroville, in the Washington Post Book World.

My first encounter with Steve Erickson was Arc d’X, which I devoured in 1993 while fatigued and feverish and bedridden. In that context, it became one of the great reading experiences of my life, virtually phantasmagoric. But I don’t know if Arc d’X would have seemed any less hallucinogenic under normal conditions. Over his entire career Erickson has challenged readers with a fiercely intelligent and surprisingly sensual brand of American surrealism that can, at times, seem impenetrable.


  1. says

    Ha — I had the exact same experience with Arc d’X and immediately read everything else I could find by him. I don’t think I happened on it until ’95 though…

  2. James says

    A little Erickson goes a long way, I find, but I’ve been looking forward to this one. Good to see it get some mainstream press.

    Seems to me that the Washington Post is the major paper most likely to cover experimental and/or genre fiction. Is that because of Michael Dirda? Or do I have the wrong critic at the wrong place?

  3. says

    “Tours of the Black Clock” was my introduction to Erickson. I immediately went out and bought “Days Between Stations,” “Rubicon Beach,” and “Arc d’X” (which had recently been published). Hallucinogenic is the right word. I just don’t think he’s reached the heights of “Arc d’X” since. I haven’t, however, read “Our Ecstatic Days” or “Zeroville” yet.

  4. Hank says

    Tours was my first Erickson…very confounding work. After reading Zeroville, I think I have really fallen for his style, so I am in the process of tracking down as much of his stuff as possible.

    Would be nice to see Arc d’x reprinted.

    Nice review, Jeff.

  5. Pere says

    I just devoured Zeroville and loved it! Very funny, very insightful! Erickson takes us on a very uunique literary ride. I was relieved that it was an easy – really fun read given how I struggled with Our Ecstatic Day. He’s over the top, for sure. But how else can you get to the other side of the mountain?

  6. Marci says

    I can’t wait till I’ve read it five more times. I’ve been enamoured of his writing style since about 5 yrs ago when a friend recommended Arc d’x, then have read everything he’s written since. An amazingly enchanting and poetic writer. Just finished Zeroville and have already started my second read.

    I’m a lit-hag, so I really enjoyed the layered complexity and references. Some people may consider it hoity-toity, but I believe it adds richness to the characters, especially, because a major idea in all Erickson’s works revolves around time and people and lives being circular, how it all overlaps. I don’t believe you have to “get” all the references, I surely haven’t seen all the movies he refers to, but it does add another layer of depth and intellegence to it. And now I have a bunch of movies I need to add to my netflix account!

    I love all of his work and this one, well, I think its a very good book.