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Daniel Green
Interests: Good writing, creative and critical.
Recent Activity
The title of Phillipa K. Chong's 2020 book, Inside the Critics' Circle, juxtaposed with its subtitle, "Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times," immediately announces its foremost limitation as an account of the state of literary criticism in these "uncertain times." Casually assuming the conflation of "criticism" and "reviewing" (an assumption no... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at The Reading Experience
It's good that Delia Sherman and Theodora Goss print at the end of the book an interview with themselves about Interfictions, an "anthology of interstitial writing" they've edited and published through the Interstitial Arts Foundation. Otherwise I, for one, would have finished the book, including its nominal "Introduction," without having... Continue reading
In his review of Stephen Marche's Shining at the Bottom of the Sea (Riverhead Books), Brian Evenson asserts that too many of the selections in the fictionalized anthology that gives this book its form have "too few of the satisfactions we’ve come to expect from fiction." On the one hand,... Continue reading
Many of the posts on this blog are concerned with what is loosely called "experimental" fiction. Some people object to this term, finding it either overly general or awkwardly clinical, conjuring up images of the novelist in a lab coat. I find the term problematic only in that I think... Continue reading
One hesitates to "review" a book like Che Elias's West Virginia (Six Gallery Press), since the conventions of reviewing require a focus on what a book is "about," where fiction is concerned on recapitulating the "story" (which, unfortunately, most newspaper book reviews emphasize most directly and at greatest length), as... Continue reading
Raymond Federman was generally associated with those American writers who in the 1960s and 70s began writing what is now called "metafiction," but there was always something about Federman's work that seemed different, its self-reflexivity even more radical and enacted in a more aggressive way. Where Barth and Coover laid... Continue reading
In Barry Alpert’s 1974 interview with him, Gilbert Sorrentino declares that he is “an episodic and synthetic writer. . .I don’t like to take a subject and break it down into parts, I like to take disparate parts and put them all together and see what happens.” In his late... Continue reading
Partisans of "experimental" fiction (I am one) frequently make unequivocal distinctions between a properly experimental and a "conventional" work: The experimental work is formally or stylistically unlike anything that has come before--satisfying Ezra Pound's injunction to "make it new"--while the conventional work merely recapitulates, perhaps with modest variation, an already... Continue reading
Arguably what has over the past 50 years been called "experimental" fiction is inherently a "conceptual" fiction. The efforts among such postwar American writers as John Barth, Gilbert Sorrentino, and Raymond Federman to question established norms and to extend the formal possibilities of fiction challenged readers to put aside the... Continue reading
If any writer deliberately proceeded throughout his career to almost ensure his work would be ignored by critics and publishers, it would have to be Harold Jaffe. Jaffe has steadfastly continued to write fiction that is formally and conceptually adventurous while at the same time advancing a radical sociopolitical critique... Continue reading
Carole Maso has never tried to avoid the label, “experimental writer.” Indeed, in interviews and essays she has often advocated on behalf of experimental fiction, lamenting the lack of critical attention it receives and excoriating big publishers for their commercial fixations at the expense of the literary. In her essay,... Continue reading
There are at least three ways by which we might classify Zachary Thomas Dodson's Bats of the Republic in order to characterize it adequately and evaluate it fairly: as a postapocalyptic narrative, as an example of the "steampunk" subgenre of science fiction, and as a so-called "illuminated" novel. Viewing it... Continue reading
In many ways, Steve Tomasula’s fifth book, Once Human, is a very good introduction to the work of this conspicuously unconventional writer. Venturesome readers will find that this collection indeed exhibits Tomasula’s trademark assimilation of visual elements—photos, illustrations, graphs and charts, drawings—into the verbal “text,” as well as the inveterate... Continue reading
The four books of short fiction that John Barth has published (all now reprinted by Dalkey Archive as Collected Stories) offer a usefully synoptic view of Barth’s signature moves as a writer of fiction—or at least those moves with which he is likely to remain most identified. Although Barth advises... Continue reading
In 1979, Robert Scholes published Fabulation and Metafiction, in retrospect perhaps the work of literary criticism most influential in shaping our perspective on “postmodern” or “experimental” fiction from the 1960s and ’70s. The fiction of this period, according to Scholes, systematically swerves away from realism toward the more elemental mode... Continue reading
Romanian novelist Dumitru Tsepeneag would seem to be among those post-communist East European writers whose fiction, as if in leaving the legacy of socialist realism as far behind as possible embraces its perceived opposite, could be described as “postmodern.” Along with such other writers as Magdalena Tulli (Poland) and Georgi... Continue reading
John Keene’s Counternarratives is neither a collection of short stories, nor the sort of linked novel-by-proxy series that has become increasingly common in the past decade or so. This extraordinary book is instead unified by the conceit invoked in its title: its stories all counter, challenge, or subvert established narratives... Continue reading
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
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
While the first three novels of Rudolph Wurlitzer certainly express the sensibility of the 1960s--specifically the late 60s, when the more insouciant rebelliousness characterizing much of the initial cultural ferment of the period began to curdle, congealing into less equivocal forms of disaffection and alienation--it is not as clear that... Continue reading
For all of her experiments with divergent media that are ultimately impalpable (her e-lit hypertext, Patchwork Girl, which is also essentially inaccessible unless you have the equipment to play a CD-ROM, on which the novel is now exclusively available), hypothetical (Skin, a “story” inscribed on human skin a letter at... Continue reading
In a career that now includes 14 novels and four collections of short fiction (as well as seven works of nonfiction), Lance Olsen has produced an admirable variety of experimental fictions, no one of which seems merely a repetition of any of the others. There are identifiable tendencies and gestures... Continue reading
Reading James Cox’s Dodge Rose, I was most immediately reminded of the work of Evan Dara, although the scale on which the writers work is (for now, at least) much different. Dara’s The Lost Scrapbook and The Easy Chain are meganovels, employing an episodic, loosely picaresque formal strategy—even if neither... Continue reading
Although the term “postmodern” is still used often enough by critics as a convenient label for certain works of fiction that are considered out of the “mainstream” of current literary fiction, and descriptions of new books ladled with adjectives such as “unconventional,” “original,” or “innovative” are quite common, the era... Continue reading
A new issue of Unbeaten Paths is now available. Includes reviews of: Dave Fitzgerald, Troll (Whiskey Tit) Matt Bucher, The Belan Deck (Sideshow Media Group) Martin Riker, The Guest Lecture (Black Cat) Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2024 at The Reading Experience