Review of Spurious by Laura McLean-Ferris, Art Review, Issue 51, Summer 2011
That the two protagonists of Spurious are constantly asking themselves what Kafka would do in any given situation is indicative of their melodramatic intellectualism, one that this book burlesques in a highly comedic fashion. A fragmented, diaristic account of a dysfunctional friendship between two writers, Spurious emerges from a blog of the same name and is the literary debut of Lars Iyer (a Blanchot scholar based at University of Newcastle). Here 'Lars' and his friend W. endlessly decry their failures as humans, intellectuals and writers, in an atmosphere of gloom so pervasive that it enters a world of hysterical pathos, creating an amusing and occasionally moving piece of writing.
The pair's passion for other writers, expressed in conversations and phonecalls, only heightens their sense of inadequacy. Comparing their correspondence to that of Levinas and Blanchot, and lamenting that only a few letters of that relationship survive, Lars notes that: 'Of ours, which take the form of obscenities and drawings of cocks exchanged on Microsoft Messenger, everything survives, though it shouldn't'. Ominously, Lars's home is damp and festering with ever-growing mould: at times he fears the building will deliquesce completely.
What's left for W. and him to cling to? Only their pathetic excuse for a friendship. As Lars says, 'I am his idiot, but he is mine, and it's this we have in our joy and laughter, as we wake each day into the morning of our idiocy'. As the title suggests, these characters might only be a sham, a satire on intellectuals gone to seed. Nevertheless, the depiction of writers ruined by their own work rings true.