UP by Ronald Sukenick


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In his explanatory blurb on his book Mr. Sukenick carefully explains: ""I am trying to show, as exactly as possible, that American society is morally corrupt, spiritually exhausted, socio-economically unviable, and very possibly headed for large scale catastrophe in the not too distant future."" He comes close. It also is pointed out that this is a ""book"" not a ""novel"" and ""It follows that I don't accomplish anything in terms of story, plot, character, and I don't want to."" It also follows that this could be less than readable. But it is readable since Mr. Sukenick is a powerful writer even when he's being terribly self-conscious about it. Briefly it's about Ronald Sukenick. Brooklyn born and bred, now a professor writing a book within a book about a character named Strop Banelly who in turn ""made up his past as he went along."" In a kaleidoscope of experiences, dreams and nightmares fuse with reality and there are some stunning scenes: the household of a dying old man; a young boy's contact with life and death while working in the maternity ward of a hospital; love and impotence, terrorism and war; futility and hope. There are caustic, erudite dialogues and at one point Mr. Sukenick even injects a critical essay on his novel within a novel. But there is throughout a great deal of feeling for what Mr. Sukenick views as the impossible, exasperating, pathetic ""human condition."" All very aware and intensely alive.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1968
ISBN: 1573660450
Publisher: Dial