Monday, January 18, 2010

Against The "Impossible To Explain": The Postmodern Novel And Society

From The Quarterly Conversation: Against The "Impossible To Explain": The Postmodern Novel And Society. It's an article about challenging one's reading with stories that try something new. An excerpt:

Here’s the problem. You decide to try some reading outside the ordinary, a novel that doesn’t have the usual earmarks, and it proves interesting, satisfying, but you don’t entirely understand why, and when you look for help, an illuminating review or something, you can’t find any.

You’ve picked up Carole Maso’s Aureole, for instance. This edition is dated 2003, from City Lights Books—didn’t they do Howl? Indeed, the first riffle through the pages reveals a poet’s typography, lots of white space. Is that paragraphing? Still, you take a flyer, and the upshot is, pretty damn good. The book reads first like poetry, then like stories, then like a novel. The front matter lists no previous publications, and while between each titled story or chapter you find no obvious connections, hardly any names for instance, you do pick up recurring phrases, developing histories, consistent obsessions. Sexual obsessions primarily, and primarily lesbian, though the encounters have too strange an angle of view, and too many ellipses, to qualify as porn. The reading experience isn’t difficult, exactly, not with so much flesh and heat, but you swing from one startling phrase to another...


Anonymous John Domini said...

Thanks for reading, & for caring.

1:05 AM  
Blogger pgenrestories said...

Thanks for writing about it!

9:35 PM  

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