Here, Please, Have a Profound Experience of Art

boatmen of barcelonaIn Ben Lerner’s novel Leaving the Atocha Station, the main character Adam Gordon wanders around Madrid, screws different women, drinks, smokes, talks, sometimes coherently, and is otherwise on a sort of “gap year” funded by a Fulbright and fueled by the protagonist’s early success in poetry and ambition for more. As the book opens, Adam is cruising through the Museo Nacional Del Prado, pretty high, somewhat hungover, and in a half-lucid state coaxed by pills and weed only to come across a man before Weyden’s “The Descent from the Cross”. The man is weeping. He is, Adam decided, having “a profound experience of art.”
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