In a recent interview, Ben Marcus resisted being called an "experimental writer," asking rather impatiently, "Does anyone self-identify as experimental? Anyone?" Apparently Marcus is not much aware of his predecessor, John Hawkes, who once told an interviewer, "Of course I think of myself as an experimental writer," regretting only that "the term 'experimental' has been used so often by reviewers as a pejorative label intended to dismiss as eccentric or private or excessively difficult the work in question." Marcus seemed to be decrying the expectation that he should always be sufficiently experimental, but Hawkes never wavered in his determination to challenge entrenched habits and complacent practices in both the writing and reading of fiction. In the same interview, he asserted that "I began to write fiction on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting, and theme, and having once abandoned these familiar ways of thinking about fiction, totality of vision or structure was really all that remained." Hawkes endeavored throughout his career as a writer to validate this assumption, producing a series of novels that do indeed discard the "familiar ways of thinking" and attempt to substitute for them a "totality of vision or structure."