Tag: Don Delillo

everybody’s grandpa

Evan Dara’s THE LOST SCRAPBOOK, pp. 6-72

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Many of us im sure think a little about how to write differently. To make something that could push out beyond Brechtian alienation or the long postmodern and all the rest of that which is now tradition. Is there a text out there that really captures this moment, the psychological situation brought on by late capitalism, and promises a radical response? Is there a book that turns its gaze onto this current political-historical dilemma that frames our discourse — the blood on our hands which postcolonialism highlights, the tension between the margin and the center; a book that prescribes some kind of antidote to contemporary alienation while still conscious about how power works?

It was Evan Dara’s THE LOST SCRAPBOOK which i was told was a white male writer’s text that offered a model to navigate this moment; one that delivers on its radical promises. i dont read the blurbs on books often but there was one on my copy from a monograph, and how often does that happen? Professor Jeremy Green calls it “the most formidable political novel of the 1990s”. The source, Green’s LATE POSTMODERNISM: AMERICAN FICTION AT THE MILLENNIUM, which i read a few months ago, brings up

Robespierre’s distinction between the “citra-revolutionary,” those moderates of the French Revolution who wished “to draw the Republic back from the resolute measures necessary to save it,” and the “ultra-revolutionary,” fanatics who were determined to push forward into further extreme and excessive acts.

And THE LOST SCRAPBOOK is to Green’s eye an “ultra-postmodern” text, fun! i want to devote more than one post to this book and chew on it slowly. It’s pretty wild and exciting yet oddly wistful, and there’s only two teases of a plot line but the pages just tumbled by; it’s compulsively readable.

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throwing down some more on the scales — further notes on Don Delillo’s Libra

Delillo’s writing is hard for me to get my head around. like, i dont know what precisely im making out of it, but i do know im enjoying myself a great deal. Underworld is looming in the back of my mind along with all the other tantalizing USen contemporary pomo bricks, namely Infinite Jest, The Instructions, Against the Day, and William Gaddis. They are such tempting monsters and i want to get through them someday. eventually. massive length, be it pages or running time, is really fascinating to me. I like the way one text known for its marathon length will influence people’s notions of the rest of the author’s work. Folx who know about Seven Samurai‘s epic 3.5 hours fear than any given Kurosawa flick will be a bladder-buster. Likewise, when i told a relative i was digging through some novels by Delillothey immediately imagined, because of Underworld, a pair of tomes of some 5,000 pages each. in actuality both Mao II and Libra are quite lean.

another thing im aware of with these novels: im starting to forget them already. this is an observation confirmed by other folx in the online communities in which i lurk. Bill Gray and company in Mao II is already slipping away, whereas i read Michael Chabon’s Kavalier and Clay last summer and those characters are vividly and fondly remembered. this forget-ability is not necessarily a complaint. Libra is definitely eliding certain narrative pleasures (such as stable individuals with realistic psychology) as part of a really careful consideration of history, our reaction to it, and the processes of interpretation.

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early spring book reports — don delillo, sci-fi stories, “metahistorical romance”

image found here
image found here

This blog got neglected this month. My last semester hasn’t been demanding but I still let it take over most of my bandwidth. Another thing is that I’ve been reading a lot of stuff from normative folx, and their writing inhabits a white, heternormative and male-focused space, so I’m less keen to write my responses to them. Don’t get me wrong: Albert Camus and Don Delillo are great, and I won’t say you shouldn’t read them or their ilk.

I’ve been lousy with taking good notes or copying down important quotations with my reading, so instead I’ll just sketch out my impressions from memory.

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