THE DEATH OF THE NOVEL and Other Stories by Ronald Sukenick

THE DEATH OF THE NOVEL and Other Stories

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In Up (1968 p. 484) this young author displayed an Ups-manship in energetic wordplays and he hasn't come down ... much. Again as in the first book you find the author as character, transcribing, recording, initiating, creating, ""improvising"" himself, scenes, images, fantasies. In this it is mostly Sukenick as professor and what this basically comes down to is a long, free-form class exercise in which the teacher attempts to show the creative process in full gear. Even his editorializing about his work within the work meshes as part of the whole. And again it is a non-novel fluctuating between imagination and reality. But it's doubtful if the nihilistic, hip, tripping students encountered here would have their professor's aggressive talent, or his interesting observations whether relating to a changed campus with eyes that remember the standards and mores of ten years before; watching the exotic elements that make up the new Lower East Side; playing Humbert to a fifteen year old Lolita who ""had at best the same stubborn indifference about her future that I used to have about my past.' Or simply tape recording a quiet dinner conversation. Reading Mr. Sukenick at this point is an experience, best labelled ""groovy"" but unfortunately, not as yet, profound or moving. But it is a novel death.

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 1969
Publisher: Dial