MONTGOMERY STREET by Mark Dintenfass


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Dintenfass (The Case Against Org, Figure 8) does something difficult and only intermittently yielding with this one: a book (cast as the in-progress notes for a film scenario written by its auteur, Stephen Mandreg) which not only makes itself up as it goes along but deliberately stops to unmake itself too. More serious than current metafictional mirror-gamesmen, Dintenfass is concerned with every scintilla of the creative process; Mandreg, a young flash coming off the successful debut of his champagney sex-comedy, resolves to suck himself back, antithetically, into the memories of growing up on Montgomery Street, Crown Heights, Brooklyn in the Fifties--and as he dives, characters, ideas, and symbolic relationships are tried, tested, discarded, congealed. This attack is far more European than American: skeletal, feverish, very honest. But does it work? Dintenfass' intellectual muscles here are impressively developed, but his book has no shell to shape and shelter them. He bravely anticipates our weariness and exasperation with the molten form, yet finally what's left out--most damagingly--is the artificial but necessary glistening of life. A reaching document of thought, but only Dintenfass' fellow writer-thinkers will want or be able to reach along with it.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row