June 29, 2010
Though Dhalgren sold a million copies as science-fiction, it seems at many points no more distant from our own reality than that other trippy whopper from the mid-’70s, Gravity’s Rainbow. For Bellona, read Detroit.
January 28, 2010
Ada is “about” incest only in the way that Lolita is “about” pedophilia, or Moby-Dick is “about” fishing. Which is to say, it isn’t.
December 29, 2009
Woolf’s writing can feel disconcerting, confusing, and frustrating; It can also seem numinous, exquisite, utterly absorbing.
November 12, 2009
Sometimes a Difficult Book is more swimming pool than jigsaw puzzle. Rather than trying to solve it, we do better just to jump in.
November 2, 2009
Clarissa‘s difficulty lies almost exclusively in its length. Tristram Shandy is a post-modern classic before there was any modernism to be post- about. In Moby Dick, a mix of novelistic narration and plot, reverie and essay, quasi-scientific treatise, monologues and dialogues, technical descriptions, a miscellany of quotations.
October 29, 2009
The Anatomy of Melancholy is “a rhapsody of rags.” Paradise Lost can be Yoda-ish, only more complex. With A Tale of a Tub, the reader is sucked down by the ferocious energy of the satire.