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What is Pavement?
The unsolicited manuscript for Pavement was delivered to the Unbound office in August and has been the cause of heated debate ever since. As a novel dealing with the violent psychological disintegration of a man invisible to society it raises important questions. However the sheer level of violence in the piece has led to concerns among all of us as to the advisability of attempting to publish it. Were this simply 'slasher fiction' the subject matter might be easier to dismiss but the quality of the writing in Pavement simultaneously demands publication while provoking a profound sense of unease as to the purpose of the story and the mindset of its author.
The author, I. Smith (a pseudonym of course) wishes to remain anonymous but is in contact with, and has been met by members of Unbound. On balance we are of the opinion that Pavement is important enough to be published and hope that you (the audience) will agree.
That, after all, is what Unbound was founded to do.
Why have I written this novel – by I Smith
It's possible that for some people this book may be unreadable, as the act of imagining such brutality may be too disturbing…
I was driven to write this book in order to prevent my suicide. Life had proven to be a vain struggle against mental ill health and physical disability. What could be the purpose of continuing to the unpleasant conclusion that nature had in store for me when I could cut it short?
I started writing this extended suicide note from a dark place inside me, and I became gripped by the alternative life I was creating. What was I trying to say? I didn’t know, so I postponed the suicide to find out. Pavement explores themes of alienation and oppression. It depicts society as one where a person’s value is gauged only in socio/economic terms; a society viewed from the bottom up through the eyes of the protagonist. It’s one where the hero achieves his aims with little resources and empowers himself via murder; his actions are logical and rational, albeit using a very tortuous logic.
The narrative reveals that he possesses an insight, a knowledge of the limits of our world, that reveals the distinction between what men are and what they pretend to be. It also illuminates that given the necessary circumstances, all humans are capable of actions they would like to think they aren’t. And although the narrator’s actions are terrible, he still remains human and my intention is for the reader to retain sympathy for him, in spite of what he has (or hasn’t) done. The book contains complex dream sequences that cloud the nature of his reality and produce incongruence in the reader trying to disentangle reality from fantasy.
I’ve chosen to portray acts of explicit violence in precise detail because the reader will find the process of imagining them unsettling. Unlike watching a film where everything you see is the product of another’s imagination shown to you externally, a book enables the reader to visualise the story inside their own imagination - this is what makes it so disturbing. The idea that through reading you will imagine such dreadful scenes is unsettling - the imagination cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy. It is for this reason that when you dream you often don't know you are not awake.
Pavement is what I describe as “trans-factual”. Much of this story happened in the real world, either through my own or others’ experiences that I have borrowed, and all of it happened in my head. If you read it, then it will all take place inside your mind as well. There is also a satirical edge to the work attacking the continuing demonization of the “under man” (Untermensch) by the media and political elites, which makes it far too easy for society to label people monsters and ignore the reasons and causes of the actions of those so labeled. Nobody hears the story from the monster’s perspective, when, in reality we are all monsters…
I think Pavement is a novel that needs to be read, to be heard, to be considered. I hope you do too.
The excerpts provided at the 'read more' link below are there to give a sense of the work but they are less violent than some of the events described in the middle section of the book. Please be aware that this material is unsuitable for children or anyone who finds such subject matter distressing.
I Smith is a pseudonym for the author. He has set up a site where you can ask him questions regarding the book here.
By I Smith
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