Really great, fun. This novel is broken into four sections: the lives of the novelist Lukas Yoder, his editor,Initial thoughts as I started the book:
Really great, fun. This novel is broken into four sections: the lives of the novelist Lukas Yoder, his editor, a critic, and a reader. It's always good to read a book about writing and publishing, just for the sake of rethinking my own habits and the the aspects of the trade that I think are most important.
Having finished, I'm a little disappointed in how didactic the book became, sort of Ayn Randian in its argumentative structure -- setting up one camp against experimental writing and another, slightly more daffy and self-involved camp who expounded the genre's virtue, and through their faults suggested the superiority of traditional storytelling -- though Michener (1) wrote with a complex (albeit imprecise) understanding of experimentalism, and (2) treated both camps with humanity. My favorite sections were the ones that recounted incidents that happened in previous sections, each time from the point of view of the new narrator. This in itself comes out of an important experimental tenet: the primacy of individualism and subjective dialogue in determining the actuality of an event. To put it in terms of the story, the way we understand the circumstances of Yoder's publication is clearly outlined by Yoder in his own section, but when it's told in details specific to his editor's experience, our understanding is enriched. In Michener's pen this technique doesn't bear itself out with the experimental trimmings, of course, but it seems he worked this way intentionally. At one point in the final section Yoder determines to start a work in the new style (but, he capitulates, one that is built around a compelling story), and it seems Michener set out with the same goal....more
Daniel Trask's DMR is a skillful, amusing and often profound novel about a ticklish subject—the care of mentally disabled adults at the MassuchussetsDaniel Trask's DMR is a skillful, amusing and often profound novel about a ticklish subject—the care of mentally disabled adults at the Massuchussets Department of Mental Retardation, the organization from which the book takes its title. There are numerous pitfalls that a book like this can sink into, and Trask sidesteps all of them. He doesn't work so safely in his treatment as to be sterile, and neither does he offend. More importantly, DMR never surrenders to the temptation to make the Individuals (as decency currently terms the mentally handicapped) come off as wacky and slapstick in their challenges. This book isn't Crazy People; there is no character who riffs on a variety of "howdy-do" gags. There's no cross-eyed savant with the quirky insights of Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys, and any comparison to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest falls flat. The narrator's experiences are original, and there is a flabby truthfulness in the way they're recounted.
Totally awesome idea, awesome voice and syntactical inversions that made me laugh out loud with delight. Also all the elements of a good story make thTotally awesome idea, awesome voice and syntactical inversions that made me laugh out loud with delight. Also all the elements of a good story make this a good story, like father searching for father searching for fish. It felt a little sloppy in the repetition though. I'm surprised by that and sometimes I was frustrated by it....more