Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Jim Krusoe is the author of the novels Toward You, Erased, Girl Factory, and Iceland; two collections of stories; and five books of poetry. His stories and poems have appeared in the Antioch Review, Bomb, the Chicago Review, the Denver Quarterly, the American Poetry Review, and other publications. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his latest book, Parsifal, and reported the following: 
Oh me, oh my ... I have to start planning my sixty-ninth pages better. This one has exactly two and one-half fragments. But in the narrative—which moves around in time—we are approximately here: Parsifal’s first attempt to return to the forest where he was raised is a failure. Having asked a blind man for directions, he was pointed, because of his poor enunciation, to a florist, albeit a pleasant one. At the flower shop, the saleslady gave him a lemon-scented cloth to put over his face to cool down, and out of gratitude Parsifal bought a few tulips.

Now, as Parsifal returns home, disappointed but not discouraged, he recalls the day he left the forest, many years ago. He remembers that as he walked toward town back then, leaving behind his mother standing at the edge of a forest fire, he met a young woman hiking toward him. She was dressed in pink, and her blond hair was in a ponytail. On seeing his face, she let out a small, startled sound.

That’s more or less it, but the surprising thing about this page—now that I look at it—is how many of the book’s motifs are present here. There is the return to the past, blindness, monsters, librarians, things falling from the sky, and Misty, a woman whom Parsifal believes he loves and who bears an uncanny resemblance to the young woman hiker. Later, we will find out that Misty too, is a hiker in her way.

So ultimately, it’s the fragment form of the book that allows this unusual interpenetration of theme, detail, and action, past and present, with most every page covering the whole spectrum. Did I say that makes me happy?
Read more about Parsifal at the Tin House Books website.

The Page 69 Test: Girl Factory.

The Page 69 Test: Erased.

The Page 69 Test: Toward You.

Writers Read: Jim Krusoe (April 2011).

--Marshal Zeringue