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James Sturz

James Sturz grew up in New York City, snorkeling in his bathtub and pretending the living room shag carpet was finger coral. Now based in Hawaii, he has covered the underwater world for The AtlanticThe Wall Street JournalThe New York Times and The New York Times MagazineOutside and Men’s Journal, among many publications. His fiction and journalism have been published in 18 countries and translated into nine languages. He graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University and is a PADI Divemaster, free diver, and Explorers Club Fellow. His first novel, Sasso, was set in the caves of Basilicata, Italy, very far from the water.

from Underjungle

Discarding anthropocentrism, James Sturz has written an epic from under the sea. Reading Underjungle, Sturz's forthcoming novel which begins with this excerpt, invites suspension at varying depths—at different equilibria of deep water buoying you up and overhead water keeping you submerged. At the most reductive level, Underjungle is a story of an intelligent species known as the yc who encounter a human body. But the discovery of this land creature provides the cephalopodian narrator with the armature for Homeric simile on love and war, the perspective to wax metaphysical, and the possible resolution of the yc species' fracture into seven distinct tribes. Sturz's greatest feat in Underjungle is to make you wonder if he composed the entire thing on a waterproof laptop from the reef floor, such is his ability to light the world aqua.

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The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues