From the publisher:
Barley Patch takes as its subject the reasons an author might abandon fiction-or so he thinks-forever. Using the form of an oblique self-interrogation, it begins with the Beckettian question “Must I write?” and proceeds to expand from this small, personal query to fill in the details of a landscape entirely unique in world letters, a chronicle of the images from life and fiction that have endured and mingled in the author’s mind, as well as the details (and details within details) that they contain. As interested, if not more so, in the characters from his books-finished or unfinished-as with the members of his family or his daily life, the narrator lays bare the act of writing and imagining, finally giving us a glimpse of the mythical place where the characters of fiction dwell before they come into existence in books. In the spirit of Italo Calvino and Georges Perec, Barley Patch is like no other fiction being written today.