An Author Can Dream

Walter Kirn in the New York Times:

1111-BKS-KIRN-articleInlineSix years ago, with his rambunctious debut novel, “Dr. Pitcher’s Experimental Mistress,” the chronicle of a timid Iowa chiropractor’s Ambien-fueled erotic awakening aboard a sinking Alaskan cruise ship, Samson Graham-Muñoz, then just 23 years old, gained an instant reputation as a limber verbal gymnast. Told in the form of a blog-within-a-blog, written by the eponymous physician in a blurred state of somnambulant arousal (the doctor types notes on his iPad during sex), the book gained a small but zealous following among fans of droll divertissements. Still, there were some critics, including this one, who found the performance more impish than inspired. Graham-Muñoz was clearly a talent on a tear, but where exactly he was headed was anybody’s guess.

The question now is why we ever doubted him. “The String Theory Quartet,” his sophomore effort, is no less audacious than its predecessor. But this time the pyrotechnics are imbued with a wounded humanity, like firecrackers that go “ouch” instead of “pop” or Roman candles that sigh as they shoot off sparks. Graham-Muñoz the antic boy wonder has matured, enriching the cerebral with the intestinal. His smart, soulful writing lodges in the gut, delivering resonant artistic thrills that even casual readers will find accessible.

The book of the moment? To be sure. A book for the ages? It’s too soon to say. But it isn’t too soon to say, loudly, in public, with arms raised high: The literary times they are a-changin’ and “The String Theory Quartet” is why.

More here.