Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Novel and the Net

Fanboys and girls, I recommend you peep Slate's net symposia on the Novel and the Net: the future of damn-good fiction in age of moronic text-messagespeak. Panelists critique novels from Richard Ford, Cormac McCarthy, Edna O'Brien, Richard Powers; there are intriguing straight-to-net short fiction entries that are marvelous. I love Stephen Metcalf's review of Cold Mountain author Charles Frazier's 13 Moons, which has been made American classic and uber-seller by industry decree (those of us now well versed in the horseshit of the publishing world are at once snickering and cringing at the making of Charles Frazier; needless to say, we culuds don't get that treatment...not even Edward P. Jones...and not even if we write about church ladies feenin' fo' a long-shafted thug). I know regular middle-aged white southern novel-reading men who have never been impressed with Frazier's stuff, and find this faux-Native American mysticism and dance around black slavery a little bizarre. I guess it's a female, New York thang?

Check it out, below. And they call me a hater? Hahahaha

Never have I encountered a work of fiction less willing to levy any psychic
tax on its readers. Sleep easy, dear reader, it assures us, in all its orotund
little murmurs. The past makes no claim on you whatsoever. Sex, food, real
estate—they would still be joyful, if not for all the lawyerly pettifogging of
so-called progress. Spiced jellies—why, they grew on the forest floors, and the
slaves, they laughed like jays!
Really, what a disgrace.


Anonymous said...

Dude, the movie Cold Mountain was good! Where else can you see a fat naked sloppy Phillip Seymour Hoffman having sex with a fat naked sloppy hillbilly girl? Nicole Kidman gets felt up by Jude Law on camera? Renee Zellweger supposedly playing a mulatto farm girl? Come on man, that's art! I am sure a lot of readers bought the book after the movie.

Seriously, however, Charles Frazier is overrated and I do understand how he's become a humunculus of the publishing industry. Any time I want to see rednecks acting out Homer's Odyssey, I'll rent "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou." Your Princeton cohorts the Cohen Brothers did it better!

Carry on my wayward son! Tell me more about the new Iron Man movie or the Sub Mariner and stop these booktalks. Who do think you are, a writer!?

Anonymous said...

My wife knows the proprietress of an indie bookstore in Denver who said the same thing about Frazier. He was manufactured by the publisher and essentially bumped up to succeed, and I think the same thing happened with the Da Vinci Code. They are only half-ass complaining though, Chris, and I think you know why it is the same reason that the black bookstores (like the ones here in the Bay Area and in SoCal like Eso Wan) complain about thug books but keep them on stock. Sales!!!!