Circadian Novels, and Reality Hunger v. Next 06/23/2010
In the last couple weeks, Next has popped up in two very smart articles. Each of them is about something larger than my novel, and each of them impressed me as being the sort of thoughtful literary journalism that everybody's saying that nobody writes anymore. Everybody's wrong.
The first piece is a lively article about "circadian novels" by Jim Higgins, the arts and books editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal. Turns out, "circadian novels" is the technical term for what I've been calling "day-in-the-life" novels. Higgins gives sharp readings of the two Big Ones, Ulysses and Mrs. Dalloway (which I have acknowledged my debt to, especially Dalloway), and he introduces a slew of other examples, several of which I'd never heard of, and a couple of which (at least) I intend to track down. Even if it didn't mention Next (twice), I'd have thought this was a terrific article.
And just today, the literary blogger Levi Stahl has posted an equally terrific piece about David Shields' controversial new book, Reality Hunger, which uses Next as a sort of counterexample to Shields' argument. I won't summarize Stahl's line of reasoning, because you can read it for yourself, but I loved it, and not just because he said nice things about Next. I was thrilled to see such a shrewd and appreciative reading of my own book, of course, but mainly I thought Stahl's "yes, but" rebuttal of Shields is one of the best I've come across, and I was glad I was able to be of service.
In which I mostly write about books, movies, and TV. An all-purpose spoiler alert: Sometimes I will talk about these works on the assumption that the reader's already read or seen them, so if you haven't, be forewarned.
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