Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wood vs. Auster

James Wood continues to be the Karl Rove of book reviewers. He attacks strengths as though they are weaknesses. He invents a parody and then knocks it down in straw man fashion. He uses the words "banal" and "cliche" to form mocking quotation marks. It's a travesty of dis-ingenuousness and a willfully misleading way to read a book.

He writes:
One reads Auster’s novels very fast, because they are lucidly written, because the grammar of the prose is the grammar of the most familiar realism (the kind that is, in fact, comfortingly artificial), and because the plots, full of sneaky turns and surprises and violent irruptions, have what the Times once called “all the suspense and pace of a bestselling thriller.” There are no semantic obstacles, lexical difficulties, or syntactical challenges. The books fairly hum along. The reason Auster is not a realist writer, of course, is that his larger narrative games are anti-realist or surrealist.