Gold Fools
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Gold Fools

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  21 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Three teenage boys, Nort and Dick Shannon and their friend, Bud Merkel, find themselves in the middle of the forbidding Gila Desert on an adventure that will, they hope, lead them to the fabled riches of desert gold. Their guides, the grizzled prospector, Hank Crosby, and the leathery old cowpoke, Billee Dobb, accompany them through blistering heat, savage sandstorms, and...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Green Integer (first published May 1st 1999)
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MJ Nicholls
Is this a book written entirely in the interrogative? What does that mean? Does it mean written entirely in questions? Is "entirely" a repetitive word in those two sentences? What two sentences? Is this book as addictive to read as it, presumably, was to write? Do I think so? Why have I rated it four stars, then?

Is it hilarious? Was the storyline taken from an old western novel about a gold hunt? Was the whole novel itself rewritten in questions, or was it used as a template for the concept? Cou...more
Hank Horse
A damn silly book. It purports to be a parody of boys western adventure novels, but even a small sample will reveal the structural conceit:

"Did folks think too highly, perhaps, of guns, out amid the mesas and washes? Did they, well, actually love their guns? Did these gunlovers have vivid, if fleeting, fantasies anent sexual adventures with their guns? Was this one of the West's best-kept secrets? What were two or three of the others? Was it thought wise for a chap to develop a solid emotional r...more
A novel entirely in questions? Wouldn't that get annoying? How would the plot unfold in that format? Could characters develop? Isn't this a bit gimmicky?

These questions are all answered: Sorrentino's quality is to transcend the gimmicks and create characters who are sympathetic (as much as a slow-in-the-head cowboy can be) and a story that's funny and surprising. Worth the read. Sorrentino should get more credit than he does (NYTimes refused to give him an obit for a week when he died).
I've been taking my time on this one. Every single sentence is in the form of a question, so I feel entitled to fill in the story in various creative ways. As an intentional practice in reading a difficult form, it's great. As casual reading to pass the time, I think it could be challenging for some people. I enjoy the use of slang throughout.
Is every sentence in this book a question? Has the author cleverly exploited the possibilities of this form? Does the relationship between author and form, unavoidably, amount to exploitation? Does this cause form to suffer? Or, perhaps, does the reader suffer, and give up after 18 pages?
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Gilbert Sorrentino was one of the founders (1956, together with Hubert Selby Jr.) and the editor (1956-1960) of the literary magazine Neon, the editor for Kulchur (1961-1963), and an editor at Grove Press (1965-1970). Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn (1964) and The Autobiography of Malcolm X are among his editorial projects. Later he took up positions at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University, t...more
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