Besides a number of instances of clunky, clichéd writing, Pascale has a tendency to summarize and explain every movie and episode she references.
What’s in store from there is a series of four or five other essays as long and verbose and warm-blooded as anything in the author’s two previous nonfiction collections.
There’s no reason to doubt that writing this novel may have shaken Smith out of any complacency she may have felt about her previous works.
The catch of the book is that something science-fictionally surreal or fantastic is always going on within the worlds of these dithering, sentimental protagonists.
Levé’s ambivalence to the memoir as a construct prevails throughout Autoportrait, its own kind of deformation, wherein the act of explaining a life becomes interchangeable with describing an image.
It creates a this-is-your-life kind of recap of how the long hours around the publication of those two great novels, The Corrections and Freedom, were killed.
Some of the stuff Mason sees and records even felt so refreshing, so clever, so un-ironic, that I wanted to write it down to re-read again later, to save it like a snack for the soul.
The Pale King’s dimensions are circumscribed by middle America’s topographical flatness, with the traffic problems of small towns adjusting to business hubs described in great detail, along with the post-work rush to drink or the tenseness of a new employee on a precious break overeagerly trying to ingratiate himself with veteran employees.
After finishing Storycraft, I know I won’t be applying for an MFA in creative writing anytime soon, but I may in the future add a few more writing guidebooks to my reading shelf.
What we can glean from the story comes to us in the form of characters defined not by marriage, but by sex—the having of it, the anticipation, and the desire to explicate of it.
Today, no matter how one feels about the man himself, it will be hard to ignore his impact on the book world with the release of his incomplete, posthumous novel.
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