I just made my own post about this but here’s the official reblog
Issue No. 96
For as long as we’ve known him—since the mid-aughts, when we were all students together at The New School M.F.A. program—Jared Hohl’s been among the most interesting writers we’ve known: a doom-minded expert in the special weirdness that seethes beneath the pasty skin of the Midwest. (A native Iowan, he makes a mean beer can chicken.) In “The Dead Generations,” a crew of crop duster pilots “[declare] a whiskey front and immediately set about pissing the day away.” General breeze-shooting turns tense when Bob Honeycutt, a geriatric swinger, boasts to the group of how easy it is to seduce a married southern woman, infuriating Pete Shanks, who is married to one. A bit later (the whiskey front still squarely over the airport), two pilots take one of the planes out for a drunken joyride, triggering some unexpected existentialism in the one named Keith.
A bit of history: Jared Hohl’s first published short story was called “Fraise, Menthe, et Poivre 1978.” It appeared in an anthology Justin edited, The Apocalypse Reader (Thunder’s Mouth, 2007), and it was singled out for praise in literally every single review that the book received. A short story of Hohl’s appeared in The Agriculture Reader #2, and this excerpt from his novel-in-progress—then called The Invaders’ Retreat, now called The Dead Generations—appeared in AGR5. A bit of good news: after almost a decade of hard and loving labor, Hohl finished his novel earlier this year. This is no small cause for celebration, and we toast his achievement here.
“The Dead Generations” comes from a line in the Easter Proclamation of 1916, in Hohl’s words “a document that was meant to assert Irish independence and is now a decorative facsimile featured in a thousand fake Irish Pubs from Cleveland to Tokyo.” A fitting title for a novel about obsession and authenticity, addiction and Internet death videos, the rough tug-of-war between ideology and human agency, and the aesthetics and ethics of tourism and, of course, of fake Irish pubs.
Jared Hohl is a wonderful writer. “Wonderful” in the old sense, as in “fills you with wonder,” in the same archaic vein that “awful” once meant “fills you with awe.” We find ourselves no less awed (and thrilled!) today than we were years ago to have the privilege of reading such fleet electric matchless prose, and the honor of presenting it to the world. Dark, funny, grotesque, astonishing, full of swerves and genius, Hohl’s work scarcely requires—may in fact not even want—the heaps of praise we pile at its feet. So let us simply say that Hohl’s work exemplifies everything The Agriculture Reader stands for and strives for: the uncompromising, unpretentious, staggering, original, unknown. If it gets you, then you get us, and it is good to know you, friend.
Justin Taylor and Jeremy Schmall
Editors, The Agriculture Reader
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by Jared Hohl
Recommended by The Agriculture Reader
Early in the gray morning, the crop dusters gathered in the pilot’s lounge of the Riperose Municipal Airport and saw a big summer storm approaching. It swirled on the radar in pixelated green, moving east across the image of Iowa. The crop dusters declared a whiskey front and immediately set about pissing the day away.