Time's Wallet






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Publication: Review of Contemporary Fiction
Author: Axelrod, Mark
Date published: October 1, 2011

Steve Katz. Time's Wallet. Counterpath Press, 2011. 169 pp. Paper: $15.95.

After novels with titles such as Swanny's Ways, Wier and Pouce, and Antonello's Lion, further allusions to famous novels or painters would not be unexpected for someone like Steve Katz. Time's Wallet is no different, as we read in Troilus and Cressida, Scene III:

Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,

Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,

A great-sized monster of ingratitudes:

Those scraps are good deeds past; which are devour'd

As fast as they are made . . .

The exact title is Time's Wallet, Volume 1/54 memoirrhoids of 137, which, of course, presupposes a Volume II with eighty-three "memoirrhoids" to come. Presumably, these future memoirrhoids will be available without the use of Preparation M. So, what exactly are these memoirrhoids? They are fifty-four snippets of Katz's life here ranging in alphabetical order from Arunchala in India and Galileo & Tot to fewboy and My Nabokov to Vonneguts and Young Artist Finds His Joint with forty-eight more in between. No memoirrhoid is more than four pages long, but one shouldn't be fooled by the brevity of the pieces. The laconic tales are told with the precision of a writer who has written more than his share. At times, the pieces are written in past tense; at other times, in present. In Baxter, Katz writes "Baxter Hathaway was a slim, grey-haired professor, who in his youth had been a pole-vaulter back in Michigan . . ." while in Belgrade Whoops he begins "The Aussie couple sitting across from me at a table in Athens's Syntagma Square complains about the pollution in the city" Regardless of the alteration, these reveries offer a resonance that is uniquely "now" whether the author is talking about discovering Berryman's poetry or being in the same room with Williams and Burroughs. [Mark Axelrod]

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