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Daniel Green
Interests: Good writing, creative and critical.
Recent Activity
Jim Gauer's Novel Explosives (Zerogram Press, 2016) seems at first to be an almost paradigmatic example of what has been called a "meganovel" or a "maximalist" novel, exemplifying in its approach what Tom LeClair also called the "art of excess." It is a 700-page behemoth (its length made even more... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Reading Experience
"Literary citizenship" is a concept that many writers apparently take quite seriously, as it has evolved from a metaphorical notion that writers should advocate on behalf of literature generally to a quasi-literal requirement that they be good citizens in the "literary community" at large, whose well-being they are expected to... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Reading Experience
If we take The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House (Tin House Books) to be a representative gathering of critical wisdom from current American writers, what does it ultimately tell us about these writers' understanding of the purpose of fiction, their widely-shared assumptions? Unfortunately, in my view it tells... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2018 at The Reading Experience
Stephen Dixon Most attentive readers of contemporary American fiction are probably aware of Stephen Dixon and his voluminous body of work, his plain-spoken expository style complete with serial run-on sentences and paragraphs that might take up pages, his apparent use of his own autobiographical circumstances to slice off a seemingly... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2018 at Realisms
In a very good essay about the Russian writer Isaac Babel, Gary Saul Morson also provides a useful mini-lesson on the perils of translation: Babel’s prose depends on his silences, on what he does not say. Like his contemporaries the Russian Formalists, he wanted to shock readers out of cliché... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2018 at The Reading Experience
Laurie Stone's My Life as an Animal is a particularly interesting "in-between" book in at least two ways: it straddles the line between novel and short story collection more adroitly than most such books, and it provocatively blurs distinctions between the fictional and the autobiographical, not allowing us simply to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at The Reading Experience
Collections of book reviews are inherently difficult to present as sufficiently unified to warrant republication as a book. Whatever unity of theme, style, or approach the reviews possess first of all reflect such unifying qualities as they manifest themselves in the reviews to begin with, which of course requires a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2018 at The Reading Experience
Two new reviews of mine appeared this past week: At Open Letters Review, on The Digital Critic: Literary Culture Online: As they should, the essays collected in The Digital Critic: Literary Culture Online offer a mixed assessment of the literary culture the Internet has both transformed and distorted. By now... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2018 at The Reading Experience
Please consider subscribing (sidebar, top left) to "Reading Experiences," a newsletter supplement to this blog. It will include links to interesting critical writing across the web, additional observations on literature and the literary scene not posted to the blog, and enhanced access to future publishing projects of my own. (Update:... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2018 at The Reading Experience
Let's Review: Book Reviewing as Literary Criticism Book Reviewing in America Going Negative Staying Positive In Practice Matter Anti-Matter Justifying Criticism Motives Gatekeeping Taking Sides Fillips of Contempt, Wet Kisses —The Role of Online Criticism "In my view, most of the debate about positive and negative reviews is misguided not... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2017 at The Reading Experience
A roundup of the literary criticism I published in the past year: Reviews: "Not Somewhere or Anywhere" (On Ottessa Moshfegh's Homesick for Another World ) The publication of Ottessa Moshfegh’s story collection, Homesick for Another World, does not so much allow us to measure the progress of this writer’s talent... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2017 at The Reading Experience
(The following will be the introductory essay in an ebook volume that will be the sequel to the volume I have already put together, American Postmodern Fiction. It will focus on second-generation and less well-known postmodern writers.) While the first three novels of Rudolph Wurlitzer certainly express the sensibility of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2017 at The Reading Experience
Nathaniel Rich on László Krasznahorkai: "Krasznahorkai is at heart a writer of suspense, though he takes the genre’s methods—deferral, misdirection, portent—to deranged extremes. He is expert at attenuating a premise, and the reader’s patience, to the vanishing point. He has fun with this.". . . An interview with John Cale:... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2017 at The Reading Experience
The "novel in stories" has become an increasingly common form in current American fiction, so while Pamela Ryder's Paradise Field is recognizable enough in its use of the developing conventions of the form, it expands the possibilities of this hybrid genre just enough to warrant publication by a press (FC2)... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2017 at The Reading Experience
Evan Nicole Brown on Winesburg, Ohio: "Anderson’s choice to tell the tale of Ohio in fragmented episodes is an obvious departure from the novel: a classic form that would have ensured Anderson’s audience found reassurance in the narrative’s linear progression from beginning to middle then end. The First World War,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2017 at The Reading Experience
(This is the first of a series of shorter reviews I plan to start posting on The Reading Experience. I hope they will allow me to cover more new (or relatively recent) and noteworthy books and increase the frequency of the posts on this blog.) In her review of Nell... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2017 at The Reading Experience
Some of the interesting criticism I read this week: Wyatt Mason on Pierre Michon: "Many writers have produced fictions inspired by history. What is notable about Michon’s use of history is how wholly he has managed to make it submit to his larger concern: how a particular kind of violence,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2017 at The Reading Experience
NOTE I present this selection of essays on current women writers whose work either could be called innovative, or raises important issues relative to the notion of experiment or innovation in fiction, without a lengthy preface because I believe that the connections among these writers emerge clearly enough when the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2017 at Innovative Women Writers
Most Recent: "Sorrentino the Realist" The publication of Sorrentino's first novel after he had established himself as a poet—at least in those quarters of the poetry world whose notice would have meant the most to him—perhaps conveys the impression that writing fiction was a kind of literary second thought. Even... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2017 at The Reading Experience
The following is the second chapter of my book-in-progress on the work of Gilbert Sorrentino. The projected chapters: 1) The Poet 5) The Craftsman 2) The Realist 6) The Humorist 3) The Metafictionist 7) The Aesthete 4) The Anarchist 8) The Moralist First chapter here. Pdf. 2 The Realist The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2017 at The Reading Experience
Perhaps it is because her most lasting accomplishment may turn out to be her paintings that Rosalyn Drexler is now so very little known as a writer of fiction. Although she did attract attention with her novels in the 1970s, and her plays gained notice for their association with the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2017 at The Reading Experience
Robert Coover has been a presence on the American literary scene for over 50 years now. In many ways, the critical response to each new book he publishes continues to register the perception that he remains an adventurous writer who repeatedly offers challenges to convention, a perception in which Coover... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2017 at The Reading Experience
This review of Claire-Louise Bennett's Pond begins: "Pond is an experimental novel that takes place entirely inside the mind of an unnamed protagonist." The review really doesn't discuss any other of the novel's formal qualities that might make it "experimental," so we must conclude that the reviewer does believe what... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2017 at The Reading Experience
Readers mostly unfamiliar with the work of Jonathan Baumbach (perhaps aware that he is vaguely identified as an "experimental" writer and that his son is a film director whose most famous film portrays a character loosely based on him) would find his latest selection of stories, The Pavilion of Former... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2017 at The Reading Experience
BETWEEN SILLINESS AND SATIRE: ON BLACK HUMOR FICTION WHAT IS (WAS) BLACK HUMOR? Catch-22 and the Humor of Black Humor One can't help but note that in the critical commentary about the fiction of the 1950s and 60s known as "black humor" there is much discussion of what makes such... Continue reading