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March 18, 2008


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Isaac Cates

I think pointing to Salinger is really just the beginning of the story. Books like After the Snooter and Ice Haven structurally remind me, more than anything else, or the Modernist masterpiece-in-fragments, something you see from As I Lay Dying to The Cantos and Ulysses. When a literary art gets sophisticated, here in our era of fragmented media experiences, it starts to ask its readers to do a lot of the assembly work. There's certainly a period in our literary history when fragmentation was, for the "high arts," more the rule than the exception.

Anyway, I expect that the same sort of reading skill of synthesis that one brings to The Waste Land has to come to bear on The King Canute Crowd or One Hundred Demons: the work presents a whole, but not a unified one, and part of our labor as readers is to see the aspects that unify the work of literature.

(Dadgummit, how do you make italics on typepad?)

Alec Trench

More like montage than mosaic,
Really short chapters,

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