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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

Preparations for Search, by Joseph McElroy

rEprint Series Ebooks

Preparations for Search, by Joseph McElroy

Preparations for Search FINAL Cover.jpg
Preparations for Search FINAL Cover.jpg

Preparations for Search, by Joseph McElroy

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What if the private detective you might pay to find someone long gone thinks to hire you; or money lent for him gets spent on home improvement; or if relations among a group of friends and lovers go on not so much too long as in new angles to exchange poignant energies even of ending? Is it literally some chemistry we’re in or motion with its partial randomness?


“ . . . [cut from Women and Men before publication in 1987]Preparations for Search gives evidence that . . . there are unities and ideas of completion that have nothing to do with length, and which instead make the case that certain material has to go, and yet this material, whether germane to the narrative trajectory of the whole is still somehow, by virtue of the man’s style, breathtaking and electrifying, despite the fact that it reveals its vintage in details (telephones, answering machines, an absence of computers), and thus the excision is as invigorating as the most refreshing voice we are likely to encounter in the firmament of the present.” —Rick Moody

“. . . the text knows what it means to be excised from a former home (Women and Men). Which would mean that the anxious, anguished, coastal drawing on the front is an accurate portrait of the contents of the text, which is coastal in the sense that it constitutes an outline of a shore which is otherwise impossible to measure. Which would mean thatPreparations for Search is fractal, or infinitely subdivisible, as McElroy’s sentences often are . . .”  —Golden Handcuffs


Joseph McElroy is the author of nine novels, including A Smuggler’s BibleHind’s Kidnap,A Pastoral on Familiar AirsAncient History: A ParaphaseLookout CartridgePlus,Women and MenThe Letter Left to MeActress in the House, and Cannonball. He has taught at Columbia, Temple, Queens College of the City University of New York, and New York University, among other universities. He currently lives in New York City.