John Madera's Reviews > Sonata in K

Sonata in K by Karen An-hwei Lee
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May 31, 2017

it was amazing

Karen An-hwei Lee’s Sonata in K sits comfortably between Barnes’s Nightwood and McCourt’s Mawrdew Czgowchwz, or Nabokov’s Lolita and Theroux’s Darconville’s Cat, or Jeremy Davies’s Rose Alley , and any of Mary Caponegro’s collections: books foregrounding vivid, clever, and audacious prose, a dense, neo-baroque textual surface, where everything is heightened, elaborate and elaborated, but without ever coming across as labored. Speaking of Nabokov, he once stated that a writer combines storytelling, teaching, and enchanting “but it is the enchanter in [them] that predominates and makes [them] a major writer.” Lee enchants in Sonata in K, expertly drawing a fabulist portrait of Franz Kafka, who’s either been cloned from a bone fragment from exhumed remains or a corporealized hologram derived from photographic portraits. Kafka’s been summoned to Los Angeles—a “radiolucent subterranean garage”—to work on a screen adaptation of an alleged work of his, Lee deftly weaving together deadpan dialogue, poetry, recipes, bits of German and Japanese, and excerpts from Kafka’s letters, all playfully shedding new light on the famed absurdist’s doubts, quirks, phobias, and familial tensions.
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Reading Progress

May 31, 2017 – Started Reading
May 31, 2017 – Shelved
June 3, 2017 – Finished Reading

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