lundi 17 janvier 2011

Eric Bogosian, PERFORATED HEART, New York, Simon & Schuster, 2009, 271 pages.

The New York Times review yesterday used words like "compelling" and "insightful", which is critic code for "Don't even bother reading the dust jacket." The killer line was: "A less heavy-handed writer would have given this material a much brighter treatment." Of course it was compared to the short story collections from twenty-five years ago. The Philosophy of Paradise was also mentionned. I have written five novels but I will forever be a "renowned writer of short stories one of which was adapted as a film, directed by Paul Schrader." Read: "not a major talent; negligible; a clown." Tell that to Kafka, to Nabokov!
The critic missed the gist of the book, of course. Completely ignored the themes of biography and anonymity and personal reinvention. Didn't mention the assassination sequence, probably the most exciting chapter. Skirted the shopping mall subplot.
That's how they get you, by synopsizing the plot incorrectly and then ctiticizing you for their mistaken sense of what the book is about. Or focus on the weakest chapters, in this case, the dreary relationship between Carin and her son, something I added at the last minute only as a background to Frank's story. Roth and Ford can digress all day long and every syllable is fawned upon. Me? I'm a dartboard.
(p. 22-23)

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