Stimulating, intellectually exciting, and highly imaginative.

TYPEWRITERS, BOMBS, JELLYFISH

ESSAYS

A debut collection of essays covering the scope of modern literature, along with a quiet plea for its violent overthrow.

When it comes to realism, McCarthy, the author of such experimental novels as Remainder (2007), C. (2011), and Satin Island (2015), doesn’t seek authenticity; he wants an explosion. The kind of real he has in mind involves "a radical and disastrous eruption within the always-and-irremediably inauthentic; a traumatic real; a real that's linked to repetition; a real whose framework of comprehension is ultimately neither literary nor philosophical but psychoanalytic." These essays are all invigorating examinations of writers (and artists such as Gerhard Richter, On Kawara, Ed Ruscha) who destroyed boundaries, collapsed rules of time, space, and gender, and bombed their own systems of control. On Joyce’s radical use of language in Ulysses, for example, McCarthy remarks, “this is not interior monologue; it’s exterior consciousness, embodied—or encorpsed—consciousness that has ruptured conventional syntax’s membrane, prolapsed.” More than 150 years earlier there was Laurence Sterne, who wrote a masterpiece in which conventional narrative order falls apart. "Error is everywhere in Tristram Shandy; it's the most glitch-ridden book imaginable—it's all glitch," McCarthy writes. "Everything gets lost or misdirected; every action generates unwanted consequences." A most illuminating essay on Kafka interprets the great writer’s “Letter to His Father” in cybernetic terms, as a counterproductive “feedback loop,” in which the relationship becomes not self-repairing but self-destructive. Through it all, McCarthy seems to be mapping out the coordinates of his own ambitions, wondering if there’s any unchartered territory left. The thought is there in the book’s final sentence, in a concluding essay on the life and work of the late Kathy Acker: “It might just be that the final measure of a writer is not so much what they achieve themselves as what they render possible for others.”

Stimulating, intellectually exciting, and highly imaginative.

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68137-086-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: New York Review Books

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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