Michael Smith’s experimental novel, written in 1965 and first published in 1995, is a unique artifact and embodiment of New York’s bohemian subculture at a critical moment. Structured as two parallel texts on facing pages, the fractured narrative references a cast of characters including just about everyone who was active in the downtown theatre and dance world of the period, as well as a cross-section of artists, philosophers, street people, and opera queens. The sensibility is at once cool and wildly inflamed by sex, drugs, and Mahler. Technical strategies on display include collage, appropriation, and sampling, deployed in homage to the pioneering writers and artists of the early 20th century, prefiguring the co-option of such techniques into popular culture.

The author at the time was associate editor and chief theatre critic of The Village Voice and active in the off-off-Broadway theatre as a director, playwright, and lighting designer. For additional information and texts, please go to michaeltownsendsmith.com.

Near the End is available by mail order direct from the publisher. Please add $5 for wrapping and postage.