The cult section of the literary world

Heart of the Original: Originality, Creativity, Individuality by Steve Aylett

heart of the original cover

review by G. Arthur Brown

In order to understand The Heart of the Original we must first attempt to understand its author, Steve Aylett, but we find this is impossible for several reasons. Aylett is almost as mysterious as he is brilliant. Great portions of his history have been erased from the universe. One thing seems clear: Aylett was created in the core of a pulsar by an alien god who hates pasta. Was he reared for the special purpose of creating amazing works of non-fiction such as The Heart of the Original? There is certainly no way to be sure. This realization sends readers into various stages of grief, mania, dejection, exhilaration, apoplexy—in that order. I am currently stricken with a sort of aphasia that causes my fingers to produce book reviews without my frontal lobe being aware that I am typing on my laptop. I will even edit this without realizing what I am doing. My conscious mind is picturing kittens and butterflies, all naked. Left with no way to understand the creator, we must turn to examining his creation.

The Heart of the Original explores where we are at as a culture—The Entire West and points elsewhere. It is not really a love letter to creativity, but a disappointment letter to humanity. Lamentations, one of the funniest books of the Bible, is to The Heart of the Original what Revelation is to, I don’t know, House of Leaves.  People will forever be calling Aylett the “Nicolae Ceaușescu of how to write things” because there is nothing in this book that is not written above and beyond the call of duty. Anything included was polished by the wings of tiny, naked boy angles and anything left unwritten was clearly unwritable. The last time I read something of this caliber was when I read this very book—make no mistake, this is something that has no peer in modern literature. I literarily have no idea where it should even be classified. Satiric non-fiction? Absurdist text book for the mentally aberrant artist? Whatever the libraries decide will be fine by me, but on my home shelf, I’m putting it right between my brain and my heart where really good books go.

5 stars.

3 responses

  1. I would say there are satiric passages used to make points and to make the book more fun to read, but the book itself is not a satire in the sense that (for example) his book Lint is a satire on itself. Heart of the Original is chock full of interesting ideas.

    March 13, 2016 at 11:21 am

    • I think people tend to conflate satire with irony. I don’t think that’s the case with Heart of the Original. He’s not ironically putting for a case in order to excoriate those who agree with the position presented. He’s using sarcasm, which also should not be confused with irony, to attack the mundane.

      March 13, 2016 at 8:53 pm

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