WHY I DON'T WRITE LIKE FRANZ KAFKA by William S. Wilson
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WHY I DON'T WRITE LIKE FRANZ KAFKA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

You seem to have more of the spirit of a scientist than a writer of fiction."" So says the unctuous interviewer to the sneering eminence in the title story of this first collection from a distinctive, often disarming, occasionally difficult talent. And indeed the spirit and vocabulary of modern science--medical science, social science, logic, evolution, Lèvi-Strauss, Freud--pervade these thirteen sharp or stringy arrangements of near-non-sequitur dialogue, almost-rambling memoir, and parodied professionalese. The emotional ramifications and psychic symbolism of wonder surgery: a lonely man seeks out the woman who received his mother's transplanted heart; an ""alien Caucasian male aged thirty-eight"" chooses ""Elective Surgery""--suicide by rampant amputation; sniffy doctors defend their revolutionary operations--using aborted fetus cells for ultimate cosmetic repair, penis transplant (father to son) and regeneration. Even more blatantly, matter-of-factly futuristic are a tribute to the joys of the ""eating of light"" (a later stage of evolution) and a trio of slightly overdone farce-lectures dealing with the problems of raising children who come in two styles, neotenes, (sexually precocious, die at thirteen) or Neuters. If Wilson's social satire doesn't always score and if his obsession with logic and numbers renders a few pieces inaccessible, he seems far more concerned with communication than other Antaeus headliners--and endowed with far more humor. Two stories especially make direct emotional assaults: a Scotsman reacts to the death of his newborn child by planning the reforestation of Scotland; a student-writer widow sends Bill Wilson a devastating letter. And throughout--an ear for the frightening or ironic music in words. . . that should soon have the likes of Donald Barthelme looking to their laurels.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1977
Publisher: Ecco--dist. by Viking