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Posts Tagged ‘American Fiction’

Emily St. John Mandel receives a tepid college try from the New York Times

So a writer, the creme of the byproduct of your civilization, has garnered a prime review at nytimes.com -> here

I cannot begin to moan and wail over such an unexciting ouevre -> here

If you are at all tangentially interfered with by themillions.com then please don’t bother, however if your senses have revolted from the pitter-patter of these tiny imprints I say, go on!

The fate of this volume will be the scourge of the unchosen, those MFA’s left in its wake. If we listen closely we hear a woman who has written a thing and been gladhanded most ungallantly. However the thing is, from the review directly, not exactly worthy of an eternal flame. We read that it starts with a charge and sputters over time. Ostensibly from an idea not a set piece. Cringing I read the words on the screen thinking how much a scandal a review can be that is truly mild. It almost pains ones efforts at life to believe in a peerage of colleagues treated so. How do these people partake in this production and analysis if the end result pardons her? My weary reader, ask not and want not, these are the things that must push my pen to react. How hard must we yearn and yodel for a solid work that plods and plots itself accordingly?  The meta of now is only a puddle, a puddle which seeks no greater body, that dries up and is restored to the heavens only to fall again and again with each week of this publication derelict of a sense of greater acts of creation. For when one has a vocation, we only injure ourselves when we inure against something of better wort.

Transparent

For the lest to see.

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When I was in high school I got in trouble during Physical Science class. I was a freshman and didn’t really care for school at all. My teacher, Mrs. Stonbraker, ordered me to write 500 words on why I shouldn’t misbehave. Naturally I wrote something to the effect of: If I misbehave I will not only do bad in school but I could let my family down and blah blah blah, for 500 words. When you are 14, 500 words is an eternity. The quality of the assignment, needless to say, was execrable.  Which is what I found out about Donald Barthelme’s The Indian Uprising. Louis Menand in The New Yorker praises it as “…one of the great literary responses to the Vietnam War…” and that “The babble of discursive registers mimics the incoherence of war against guerillas, a war in which the two sides are always in danger of becoming morally indistinguishable.” Now if you have connected the dots you are of either two minds: 1. I am crazy to go against Don B. he opened the doors and let all the bullshit in.  2. Hell yeah, he is a craptastic writer with nothing to say. After reading The Indian Uprising, I have thought that Don B. was, simply, a piece of shit hack who aped at being an author. Clearly he had aspirations, ambition and plenty of theory (read bullshit) to dupe any one and everyone into believing that here was something somewhat new for them to think about.

To quote Barthelme in an excerpt from the Louis Menand article we can see how people got steamrolled; Had I decided to go into the conceptual-art business…I could turn out railroad cars full of that stuff every day.”  Menand says that Barthelme “…used hackneyed prose in his pieces all the time, and he was a connoisseur of the linguistically tired and poor.’ Right ’cause that is what I want to read, something that is tired and poor.

Now on to the actual literary criticism.  Aside from being ‘tired and poor’ Barthelme doesn’t like to convey any sort of reality in his piece. Of course there is a war going on, an invasion if you will, but what is the main thrust of this crap? If it is to make dumb jokes and be ironic well then Mr. Barthelme has certainly succeeded.  But if it is to add to the shelf of literature well then he has certainly failed. Epic Fail Barthelme. Ha ha ha.

I wish this man was still alive so I could speak with him and tell him that in 100 years he will be remembered along with the backstreet boys as some of the worst dreck this society has ever produced. 

 

If you enjoyed this please check back as I buy my first Thomas Pynchon book in the coming weeks.

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John Updike has died.

Now may a new generation emerge?

Oh the horror of someone who has exhausted their pen on mindless suburban fictive elements.  I wrote a while back on his sheepish review of Toni Morrison. Yeah that’s all I have to say about Mr. Updike.

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