review by G. Arthur Brown
In order to understand The Heart of the Original, we must first attempt to understand its author, Steve Aylett, but we find this is impossible for several reasons. Aylett is almost as mysterious as he is brilliant. Great portions of his history have been erased from the universe. One thing seems clear: Aylett was created in the core of a pulsar by an alien god who hates pasta. Was he reared for the special purpose of creating amazing works of non-fiction such as The Heart of the Original? There is certainly no way to be sure. This realization sends readers into various stages of grief, mania, dejection, exhilaration, apoplexy—in that order. I am currently stricken with a sort of aphasia that causes my fingers to produce book reviews without my frontal lobe being aware that I am typing on my laptop. I will even edit this without realizing what I am doing. My conscious mind is picturing kittens and butterflies, all naked. Left with no way to understand the creator, we must turn to examine his creation.
The Heart of the Original explores where we are at as a culture—The Entire West and points elsewhere. It is not really a love letter to creativity, but a disappointment letter to humanity. Lamentations, one of the funniest books of the Bible, is to The Heart of the Original what Revelation is to, I don’t know, House of Leaves. People will forever be calling Aylett the “Nicolae Ceaușescu of how to write things” because there is nothing in this book that is not written above and beyond the call of duty. Anything included was polished by the wings of tiny, naked boy angles and anything left unwritten was clearly unwritable. The last time I read something of this caliber was when I read this very book—make no mistake, this is something that has no peer in modern literature. I literarily have no idea where it should even be classified. Satiric non-fiction? Absurdist textbook for the mentally aberrant artist? Whatever the libraries decide will be fine by me, but on my home shelf, I’m putting it right between my brain and my heart where really good books go.