Thursday, June 6, 2013

More epigrammatic coolness...

This time from Jonathan Franzen on William Gaddis, via CI Dennis.

Fiction is the most fundamental human art. Fiction is storytelling, and our reality arguably consists of the stories we tell about ourselves.

Just because you're touched where you want to be touched, it doesn't mean you're cheap; before a book can change you, you have to love it.

Difficult fiction of the kind epitomized by Gaddis seems to me more closely associated with the lower end of the digestive tract.

The curious thing is that I suspect Gaddis himself would rather have watched "The Simpsons." I suspect that if anyone else had written his later novels, from "J R" onward, he would not have wanted to read them, and that if he had read them he would not have liked them.

(In fact, the work of reading Gaddis makes me wonder if our brains might even be hard-wired for conventional storytelling, structurally eager to form pictures from sentences as featureless as "She stood up.")

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