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"Move over, Pynchon—the 83-year-old Joseph McElroy is as inventive as ever, and this time he takes on the Iraq War." —Tom LeClair, The Daily Beast
"Since 1966, McElroy's novels have astonished and delighted by their brilliant wit, intelligence, and style."—Washington Post Book World
"McElroy is rightly compared with Gaddis and Pynchon."—Harper's Magazine
Written in a voice of passion, warning, and awakening, Joseph McElroy's ninth novel, Cannonball, takes us to a distant war we never understood and have half forgotten upheld by an unearthed new testament and framed by the American competitive psyche; yet always back to a California family, a bold intimacy between brother and sister, and a story of two springboard divers and their different fates.
Joseph McElroy is the recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Ingram Merrill foundations, as well as the NEA. He lives in New York City.
skewers and I remembered getting out of Umo’s truck having had enough—“but it’s my father, not just yours.” “He tried to do too much probably,” I said. I had imagined he would be present for my Hearings talk on diving. Instead Em. Come in haste, there she’d been at the back in time for Husky’s loud words with me and CEO and captain appearing front and back to grab an arm to remove him, when I was the one (and another person’s gesture I took in but recalled only later). For what Husky did to
Russian!—Ukrainian.” “All the same,” I called across, heard a siren above. I pulled a bather away from the edge—I might be Security, I waved several bathers back, an elderly Arab couple with small knapsacks, this wasn’t a public pool. Close to the pit I would see for myself. Groans from below, clamor, rooms shifting and things piled and after-concussion and structural undulation abhorrently underfoot. I had thought there had been a second explosion as well. I would more than see what it was, it
sounded like something else. I hadn’t wanted her to see me lugging a body and then losing the body. “Water,” I said, “wait a sec—”—someone’s voice in you survives their death—“‘Water makes many Beds,’” I began. Em went on, “‘For those averse to sleep—Its awful chamber open stands…’” Her mood again, her agenda today. I wondered how well I’d done at the Hearings. “It was good of you, Zach.” Beethoven’s Fifth false-alarming again, Who’s that? she murmured, and may have forgotten to ask what became
dive, 3) disaster, 4) a cockeyed photographic record, while below 5) a questionable explosion to cover 6) a questionable project (to please an officially Christian government?) followed by 7) a deathly well current and now 8) back home uneasy phone calls and at least two break-ins: but what can Em be processing now? We’re equals (all but) and our father beyond his Reserve against mine cannot be much more of a father for her now than some use of me unknown to her but drifting in upon me—and
in the car presently her absent boss seemed more the proxy than she relaying what she knew wouldn’t surprise me but the trip was scrubbed and we had to turn around but she’d told him the car was heating up and we might need another day. She had left something out, I knew, sealed in a fond female act just as she had made our time a gift. And as we drove I marked her being “thoughtful” (my mother’s word if you were being quiet and she had to know why). Like increments of delay, intelligent breath,