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Monday, March 28, 2016

A Night at the Movies / R. Coover

Wonderful technique. Wonderful, wonderful.  Clever, original, entertaining, etc., etc., etc., every sentence densely packed with wonder and blinking neon words, etc., etc. But what's this Coover's soul like? Hunh? What's he all about? Of course, as a card-carrying post-postmodernist (American Academy & Institute of Arts & Love Letters) he wants us to know that reality is a wonderful blend of chaos and chance and meaninglessness, oh and inconclusiveness too, of course, no question, this is what the contemporary writer is obligated to convey, it's in the contract, it's not discretionary (lovely quote from a British critic, one Peter Sheridan: "Salvador Dali has dreams like this"); oh, and the movie industry is all nonsense and formulas and inane repetitiveness, intellectually worthless down to the last ticket stub, everything "wacky" and "wickedly funny" and so on ... but there is a coldness at work here, an arctic Negativity on which the (Linden/Dalkey) 1987 novel (subtitled You Must Remember This) floats, we're drifting on an ice floe. One has read perhaps thirty pages; with reading as with living, one may or may not keep moving forward, all that one asks being that one not be compelled to learn something.

Woden's day, August 17, 2016 @ 9:22 AM

With its vast profusion of "plots," multiplying with cancer-like abandon, and incidents and set pieces, this novel seems to suggest plotting is an effortless enterprise driven by random whims and lacking in enduring importance.