William Gaddis’ The Recognitions

The introduction to the Dalkey Archive edition of The Recognitions, William Gaddis’ first, longest, and most difficult novel, references a moment when the self-effacing author drew a picture of himself for a collection of essays. Appropriately, he left out the head. In a century that would have no shortage of “invisible novelists” Gaddis was not only … Continue reading

Tracking Down Gunter Grass

The Tin Drum is a novel I’ve seen on bookstore shelves for years. Books with especially hefty spines are easy to spot, and The Tin Drum, at more than 600 pages, takes up a good bit of shelf real estate. (Quick aside, I’ve always thought the spine of the book should be shown when you consider … Continue reading

Atlas Slogged – A report on reading an almost unreadable book

Richard Dawkins, the puckish and quotable standard bearer of the new atheism, once called the God portrayed in the Old Testament “the most unpleasant character in all fiction.” Of the OT God’s legion of fans, Dawkins then added, “I suspect they… haven’t read the Old Testament or they’re not the kind of people I would … Continue reading

Talented Mr. Ripley is a twist on An American Tragedy

Finished Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley last night and I am now thinking about the parallels between this book and other novels where the protagonist commits murder in the first act. The grandfather of all books like this is Crime and Punishment, which it just so happens I am reading at the same time … Continue reading

The Murder of Dickie Greenleaf

God only knew how deep the water was… [Nobody] could see anything they did here… he could have hit Dickie, sprung on him, or kissed him, or thrown him overboard. Talk about your options. If Freud was looking for a poster child for the clashing instincts of Eros and Thanatos he need look no farther … Continue reading