"A pace amusingly brisk for a novel of ideas"

-Boston Globe

"Neat and affecting turns... Engrossing little satire"

-All Things Considered-- National Public Radio

"Hall-of-mirrors playfulness...suspenseful and well-managed plot...ingeniously worked-out plot."

-San Francisco Chronicle

"A classy, easy-reading page turner, light of heart and bright of mind...the pop, crackel and snap of some very lively dialogue...a literary novel to be reckoned with."

-The Washington Post

"'Marx, Deceased' is another daring departure in a career distinguished by daring departures."

-Atlanta Journal Constitution

To me the ultimate truth is fiction. In ancient Greece, whenever lawyers met after some interesting case, they teased each other with "What if that happened?" "What if he had done...?" "What if...?" Supposedly, that was the origin of fiction. In any event, that is how I write. I do serious research; I collect evidence; and then I proceed with "But what if...?" It is a god-like feeling, creating people and situations, passing judgment upon the creatures of your imagination. But unlike a god, I am very sensitive to judgment of my own work. Preoccupied with wanting to know what people really thought, I felt only posthumous evaluations would give me that insight.

Most people are bound to judge my staged death as crazy. The two persons who knew the facts, my friend Ambrose and you, thought me heartless, a verdict to which I plead nolo contendere. D.H. Lawrence said, "You have to have something vicious in you to be a creative writer." I am certain that "heartless" can be substituted for "vicious." Comedians always get a laugh when they claim the brain as their second most cherished organ. Doesn't the audience always know the heart is not the other one? But ask the question seriously. Would Pavarotti not cite his voice, Picasso his eye or hand, Chanel her nose? What professional would list the heart?

A digression: is the world worse off if an author dies or had never lived? With Shakespeare surely. But not with most writers, including Stephen Marx. I considered that question in my interviews with scientists during my Cohen phase. With them, the answer is more often "yes." Scientific research is a collaborative activity, even among bitter competitors. Their work builds on that of others. Even a mediocre scientist can boast that he sees farther than some famous predecessor, because he is standing on his shoulders. By contrast, our trade is solitary, not cooperative, and generally not progressive. Genius among authors is frequently self-deluding narcissism-important to the person, but not to society.

-from chapter 25 of Marx, Deceased

Hardback edition published (1996) by the University of Georgia Press
Athens, Georgia (telephone orders: (USA) 1-800-266-5842; (Internat.) 706-369-6130)
ISBN 0-8203-1835-3
© 1996 by Carl Djerassi

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