Earlier this year, I happened upon the audiobook of William Gaddis’s JR, a 37-hour tour de force narrated by Nick Sullivan which is essential listening for anyone seeking a deeper appreciation of this prescient radio tower of Babel. While I don’t absorb enough audiobooks to provide a trustworthy opinion, it’s clear why this title is so highly regarded, even by those who had little or no prior exposure to Gaddis. Hearing the accents and tics of each character reduces a bit of the heavy cognitive load which the author places on the reader, allowing them to sit back and enjoy the music, and not simply stumble through the staves.
Inspired by this experience—and knowing that the prospects of any Evan Dara novel being transmuted into sound were currently infinitesimal at best—I decided to put my untrained larynx to the test and read a short excerpt from The Lost Scrapbook, pages 283-285, which I’ve titled “Counterevidence.” It is from the beginning of the letter from Robin, about her time with Noam Chomsky. The entire section, culminating in the trip to New York for a scheduled appearance on Face the Nation, is what sealed the deal for me regarding Dara, all those years ago. Here is a taste: