The Beetle Leg
Reading John Hawke’s second novel, the purgatorial western The Beetle Leg, is like being a small child awake during the night, staring in horror at some formless dark beast of the imagination that lurks within the shadows of their room. The plot, notorious for its obtuseness and the stunning surrealism which furthers the difficulty of finding a handhold from which to cling, churns forward with growing dread and silent monstrosities that rivals even that of Krasznahorkai’s ...more
I am an uncontrolled variable.
The text, in this case The Beetle Leg, is the independent variable.
My reaction, or yours, or anyone else’s would be the dependent variable.With this experimental novel, one might (I was) tempted to say that the experiment failed, but experiments don’t fail—they produce unexpected results, or results unhoped for.
I did not enjoy this one. Not at all. Not one little bit. I’ve looked over at my unfinished copy. For more than a week. 10 pages to the end, an...more
But if he is thin on plot and action, butter won’t melt in h ...more
This seems to me, to be the mission statement for most experimental fiction. The concept of the death of the novel always sounded a little too gimmicky for my taste. It's more appropriate for a contemporary writer to simply state that the novel ...more
Before reading one of John Hawkes books, it is helpful to understand the author's intentions,
“I write out of a series of pictures that literally and actually do come to mind, but I’ve never seen them before. It is perfectly true that I don’t know what they mean, but I feel and know that they have meaning,” He says, and it is clear that the interest lies in verbal and psychological coherence, rather than any conventional plot that can be followed easily.
With the overlapping time-frames, and chara ...more
The fact, man, give me the irrefragable fact! as Jack London bleated.
I think of Bill Pullman walking down the corridor of his own apartment in Lost Highway when I read Hawkes: that ambience of baleful banali ...more
The sheriff narrates the opening chapter in a tongue thick with twanged weariness and the dust of life.
Luke Lampson has an older brother, Mulge—the man the sheriff spies frozen by ...more
Born in Stamford, Connecticut, and educated at Harvard University, Hawkes taught at Brown University for thirty years. Although he published his first novel, The Cannibal, in 1949, it was The Lime Twig (196 ...more