Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"The Epiphany Machine"

David Burr Gerrard is the author of The Epiphany Machine and Short Century. He teaches creative writing at the 92nd Street Y, The New School, and the Sackett Street Writers' Workshop.

He lives in Queens, NY with his wife.

Gerrard applied the Page 69 Test to The Epiphany Machine and reported the following:
The Page 69 test happens to be almost weirdly appropriate for The Epiphany Machine. This page sees the novel’s narrator, Venter Lowood, on the literal threshold of one of the biggest decisions of his life. Venter has grown up knowing that, before he was born, his father and mother used the epiphany machine, a mysterious device that tattoos epiphanies on the forearms of its users. His father received the tattoo SHOULD NEVER BECOME A FATHER; his mother received the tattoo ABANDONS WHAT MATTERS MOST. His mother abandoned the family shortly after he was born, and Venter has been raised by his father and by his maternal grandmother, both of whom now hate the machine and have made it a forbidden subject.

At this point in the novel, Venter is a teenager, and his grandmother is on her deathbed. Venter has come to the Upper East Side of Manhattan to see Adam Lyons, who keeps the epiphany machine in his apartment. Unsure of his own motives—is he there to make a final attempt to find his mother before her own mother dies, or is he there to use the machine?—Venter has a long talk with Adam in the doorway, sensing that if he goes inside, he will use the machine.

Let’s call Venter’s feeling at this moment the Page 69 feeling. Simultaneous revulsion towards the idea of giving oneself over to a purportedly magic tattoo machine and curiosity about what your tattoo would be. I hope that you’ll want to follow Venter as he makes his decision.
Visit David Burr Gerrard's website.

--Marshal Zeringue