I’m overdue to put up some fantastic recent reviews, including this one of Edgar Bayley’s The Life and Memoirs of Dr. Pi & Other Stories (translated by Emily Toder), which was reviewed by Dustin Michael in the most recent issue of Big Muddy. It’s only in print, but here’s an excerpt:
The Life and Memoirs of Dr. Pi and Other Stories is a fantastic translation and a rollicking good read… Bayley is a master of word economy and concision, and it is breathtaking to watch him establish scene and advance plot in so little space. … Like the best cowboys from American westerns, Pi is taciturn but not smug, a confident and unhesitating man of action… Even Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler’s down-on-his-luck detective, whom Bayley pulls unceremoniously from some dusty noir pantry shelf and re-bakes into Pi in equal parts homage and spoof, seems hesitant and verbose by comparison. …
To follow the adventures of Dr. Pi is to imagine a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle/Jules Verne hero facing Raymond Chandler goons for quick bouts in an arena designed by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Bayley’s wit is a gleaming razor; his masterful command of language betrays his career as poet and a playwright. Even as the stories parody various literary genres (noir, magical realism, classic mystery), they follow Max Beerbohm’s advice regarding caricature—that all elements “be melted down, as in a crucible, from the solution, be fashioned anew.”
And as a bonus, here are some amazing Bayley poems, just translated by Emily Toder, from the latest issue of Gulf Coast.