Modernism, in this sense, is a lament for life carried out in an un-unified world, bereft of bedrock coherence, in which man himself becomes source of all meaning in a kind of banal and infinite refraction. With that lament comes the double vision of art as too weak to unify our cracked reality with the luminous world beyond, while remaining our only possible connection to such a world.
Throughout Josipovici’s fiction, this lament is stretched, dissected, seduced, distended, and exposed to the light of various emotions. His latest novel, The Cemetery in Barnes, which was shortlisted for the University of London’s Goldsmiths Prize for innovative fiction, works within the same grammar while remaining a unique achievement. It might be Josipovici’s most emotionally taut novel to date. It’s also a singularly modernist achievement, making itself a luminous symbol of our human state rather than burrowing into a pseudo-naturalistic narrative. The Cemetery in Barnes presents rather than represents.