ANTICIPATION by Fredrick Ted Castle


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As stubbornly eclectic as it is frequently bewitching, Castle's fiction debut seems less like a novel than an ""aleatoric"" piece of music or performance art: the narrator's highly intelligent, humorous voice runs toward analysis (Castle has written widely published art criticism), and it is allowed to ramble from thought to thought without restraint. Thus, this is a book of ""everything,"" surprising and relaxed. There are essay-ish disquisitions on art, on carpentry, on underpants, on domestic mornings. There are deliberated, Stein-like accretions of style: ""I place myself, that is 'myself,' in the way. As a character of the hero. The decoration proves it. The intention disclaims it. The affirmation of events and words. There might be a great deal of noise about it. There may be an international denunciation. There may be a scandal. There may be an examination. There may be a conviction. But I have already left the place."" There's a snowfall of epigrams--both original lines and fully-acknowledged borrowings. (""Analysis is the renaissance of lying from debased analogies."") And, throughout, there's lovely, intimist prose. The connecting thread? Simply that of duration: the book covers a whole year. But Castle keeps us reading--thanks to his finely modulated humor, his unabashed (yet never self-congratulatory) excess, and his shrewd balance between firm clarity and teasing obscurity. For readers willing to take a slow, challenging journey, then: a truly strange, depth-filled miscellany--with the inner coherence that's usually lacking in avant-garde, non-narrative fiction.

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 1983
Publisher: McPherson