Lorem Ipsum

Oli Hazzard

Illustrated by Catrin Morgan

Traven T. Croves (Design) KOPA, Lithuania (Printer)




ISBN: 9781913513092


Publication date: 26 May 2021



Featured in The White Review‘s 2021 Books of the Year

Lorem Ipsum, the debut novel by Oli Hazzard, consists of a single, 50,000-word sentence. An epistolary fiction addressed to an unidentified email recipient, the novel is modelled after the Japanese prose genre of the zuihitsu, which means ‘following the brush’.

This playful, disruptive and digressive novel is written out of and towards a moment of crisis in the ordinary, in which the experience of attention has changed entirely.

Lorem Ipsum is also an intimate, singular exploration of being a parent and a child, of dreams, work, fantasies, reading, happiness, secrets, memory, protest, repetition, intergenerational conflict and the forms of community which appear or disappear based on how we conceive of ‘shared time’. It is a book about the foundations upon which we build our lives, and what happens when they are shaken.

‘A work of nimble, complex propulsions and narrative ingenuity, Hazzard draws out negotiations of desire, distraction and discovery with wit and beguiling urgency. A dazzling surge of a book.’ – Eley Williams

‘Circling around personal life and politics, around teaching, technology and time, as experienced and registered and re-registered through supple words that are also diamond-bright, lit by wit, Oli Hazzard creates a self-portrait as a spiral galaxy and invites us, in it, to see ourselves.’ – Paul Griffiths

‘The title of this sentence, Lorem Ipsum, refers to the ‘dummy text’ used as a placeholder in book or website design to demonstrate where the ‘real’ text will eventually sit. In Hazzard’s version, this hypothetical text box is stretched to the uncertain dimensions of a narrated life, clicked and dragged to incorporate fears and fascinations, lit crit dejecta and gossipy digressions, scrambling its contents in the process. Despite the push and pull of its constraints, jostled by Rousselian brackets, Hazzard’s sentence is wholly compelling from start to end. Like its description of Sei Shōnagon’s 11th-century Pillow Book, this is writing “with the seams exposed”, a virtuosic unpicking of the selvedge hemming literature and life.’ – Daisy Lafarge

Lorem Ipsum is named after a garbled Latin placeholder script: something to look at before the real text is slotted in. This is a book that reveals how the apparently empty spaces of experience teem with life. With a relentless clarity that reminds me of Lyn Hejinian’s My Life, it is a novel of such generous and insightful attention to feeling I have the impression it is letting me in on the secrets I keep from myself. There is a story on every page, and together they make an inviting and lasting work of exquisite distraction.’ – Caleb Klaces