Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport puts you in the home, head, and heart of a woman whose name you never learn. She comports herself with the familiarity of a friend or…
Whether literature will save us or not is a poetic question, and the narrator’s prosaic denunciation of its false promises cannot settle the matter one way or another. Towards the end the narrator throws his manuscript into a burning abyss, choosing to save his child with Irina. How then are we left with this lexical arabesque delineating the contours of the possibility space occupied by human consciousness in an indifferent world? Solenoid answers the riddle by positioning itself qua literary work as a noble lie. In successfully reporting the narrator’s choice of the human satisfactions of love and commitment the literary work overcomes its chimerical destiny.
Sarah Thankam Mathew’s All This Could be Different has been marketed, and widely reviewed, as a novel in which electric prose serves a calling higher than the merely aesthetic. The prose here is au courant, fluent in the meme-inflected argot of the relatively young extremely online reader, and exemplary of the transparent, personality-effacing style of writers coming out of MFA programs.
Blake Bailey's Philip Roth biography has something for everyone: it satisfies the reader who wants to relive the rapture of reading Roth at his best, the literary dilettante who wants to bone up on dinner table banter about notable priapic penpushers, and aspiring heirs to Roth’s ballpoint sceptre.
In "Crossroads" Jonathan Franzen flaunts his complete abandonment of any pretence to style; substance and form have fought each other, and substance stands undefeated, gloating, on the corpse of form.