The Readymades will be republished in late 2018 by gorse.
It is with great excitement that gorse editions – the new imprint of gorse journal – can announce that The Readymades by John Holten is to be republished in Ireland in late 2017. The Readymades won universal acclaim by those who managed to acquire a copy, being dubbed one of ‘the best Irish novels of the last decade,’ it was however published in a limited print run in Berlin, quickly selling out.
In this confident debut novel, Holten has extrapolated a whole missing art movement and their contemporary European picaresque saga, using and abusing a number of literary genres. The action begins during October 2008 in Paris, with John, a young Irish publisher, meeting the jaded Serbian artist Djordje Bojić. Bojić tells John about the manuscript he is writing: the history of the LGB Group – an Eastern European neo-avant-garde collective that arose in the turbulent environment of mid-1990s Belgrade, when Bojić and his friends, recently returned from the war in Bosnia, started to produce art in order to escape the hysterical nationalism all around them. Bojić’s manuscript makes up the final part of the novel. Starting out as an academic attempt to document the LGB Group, the sober attitude of the art-historical account soon collapses, and the narrative gradually turns into a disclosing life-story of violence and existential decay. As the manuscript moves closer to the horrific truths of Bojić’s own war experiences, the testimony gradually fails, becomes full of mute lacunas in order to finally reach the ineffable climax of the testimony: the aphasia of trauma, the dumbness of loss, and the ultimate silence of Bojić’s own death.
Holten's novel is one of the greatest works of art to come out of Berlin in recent years
— Travis Jeppesen Art in America
Oslo, Norway cleverly gathers romance, cartography and Nordic myth in a meta-fictional retelling or interpretation of the streets of the eponymous capital. A self-aware tale of love and the fictions that are told in the process of it, the novel will be enjoyed by readers of Bolaño, Cortázar and Calvino and should be attempted by others.
— Phil Clement, Structo magazine
The Readymades by John Holten: easily one of the most ambitious, interesting, well-executed novels by an Irish writer I’ve come across.
— Rob Doyle, author of Here Are the Young Men
Holten has expanded the scope of the contemporary novel so that it is not merely a comment on the present but a set of artistic strategies and processes sent out into the world at large.
— Brian Dillon, author of Sanctuary