In the early days of the new millennium, the handsome, charismatic Loudermilk and his unassuming, socially anxious friend Harry Rego, scam their way into a fellowship at the most prestigious creative writing program in the country.
At times, Ives’s new novel is one of the funniest in recent memory... and in some ways, Loudermilk is a kind of communication of Ives’s other publications, now primed and delivered in the Trump age as lasting satire with her prose at its most digestible ... Though the empirical distinctions between prose and poetry are often illusory, Ives finds a way to make her prose both a kind of communication—as is expected—as well as a construction of satire. Her words linger longer than normal trade, and find ways to avoid their disintegration, as if the must of a punchline is more lasting, more fragrant; words this eloquently framed and humorous imprint, and, often enough, hold us in their absurdity.
... [Ives] has a fondness for wordplay, and moves between registers to comic effect ... Some of this is very funny, but at times Ives’s targets feel like low-hanging fruit ... the reader doesn’t quite fall beneath Loudermilk’s spell. Perhaps this is the point—Loudermilk is a cipher—but it’s hard to get invested in so vacuous a hero ... Ives’s novel is meta-textual, sprinkled with the poems and stories that its characters turn in for class...what we’re presented with in Loudermilk resists easy interpretation ... When we can’t trust the gatekeepers to tell us what to think, we’re left only with our own unreliable subjectivity.
Ives' second novel...is half gonzo grad school satire...half theoretical inquiry into the nature of writing and reality ... Also included are several of the works Harry writes as T.A. Loudermilk—poems that set the entire student body and faculty back on their heels in awe. We're 99 percent sure the admiration these inspire is supposed to be a joke, but since there were a number of other things that went over our heads, we could be wrong. Wonder Boys meets Cyrano de Bergerac meets Jacques Lacan meets Animal House. Something for everyone.