Gilbert Sorrentino

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I was just recently introduced to him via "The Sky Changes" . . . has anyone else read him?

kelsey (kelstarry), Thursday, 24 June 2004 18:20 (eighteen years ago) link

Yes. I couldn't stand "Mulligan Stew", even though I tried hard to enjoy it and it seemed like it would be my kind of book. "The Orangery" seems OK but I haven't gotten too deeply into it.

Casuistry (Chris P), Thursday, 24 June 2004 18:36 (eighteen years ago) link

i'm going back & forth on the sky changes...sometimes the writing lulls me & i can't tell if it's numbing or if i'm a little lost in it.

kelsey (kelstarry), Thursday, 24 June 2004 18:57 (eighteen years ago) link

(You also might want to try I Love Books.)

Casuistry (Chris P), Thursday, 24 June 2004 18:57 (eighteen years ago) link

I have crystal visions (never read) and I had another one in addition to Mulligan Stew (which I never read). He does get seem to get lumped between the more interesting oulipo types like Harry Mathews and people like John Hawkes who have a bigger reputation, it seems; I'm not sure if it's that he isn't respected (I think he is by those who have read him, and I think he's been the creative writing chair at Stanford forever), but for some reason he never really rose in prominence above a very, very tiny subset of experimental modern novelists.

kyle (akmonday), Thursday, 24 June 2004 19:04 (eighteen years ago) link

I've never been able to get into him. I don't think I ever liked his poetry, even back when I liked LOTS of poetry.

Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 24 June 2004 19:05 (eighteen years ago) link

And I've never finished one of his novels.

Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 24 June 2004 19:11 (eighteen years ago) link

i'm attempting to finish the sky changes . . . so weird. such a short book & yet i find myself going through the stages of a long one that is difficult to finish. it's not that the language is daunting...i simply end up getting into it & then losing interest & then reviving the interest for a brief time.

kelsey (kelstarry), Thursday, 24 June 2004 19:13 (eighteen years ago) link

The problem is that he's one of those postmodern type writers that -- and I'm basing this entirely off Mulligan Stew and peeking into a few other books, I haven't read him that deeply -- that thinks it's enough to be pastiche-y and "clever". Jacques Roubaud is the other writer I've read who gets lumped into this category -- yes, it goes through all the postmodern motions, but is that really enough? It's as if they believe that by following a formula they will create interesting works.

Raymond Federman narrowly escapes this fate (although I once had an argument with Samuel Delany about this, because he felt that Federman was of the same cloth).

Casuistry (Chris P), Thursday, 24 June 2004 20:29 (eighteen years ago) link

(It's entirely possible that I haven't read the best Roubaud.)

Casuistry (Chris P), Thursday, 24 June 2004 20:32 (eighteen years ago) link

"the moon in its flight" is one of my very favorite short stories. it's just... perfect. after reading it i immediately bought a small handful of his books and couldn't find anything a fraction as good. the postmodern "cleverness" turned me off as well.

but, for that single story alone: classic.

actually, i just learned that "the moon in its flight" is finally available in a new collection of his short fiction (the collection is titled the same as the story). i guess i should buy it because my xeroxed copy from an old lit rag is pretty tattered.

a spectator bird (a spectator bird), Thursday, 24 June 2004 20:43 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
I was a huge fan, but I never could find the rhetorical power to defend him against the naysayers. And now the old troublemaker is gone.

RIP Gilbert Sorrentino.

Sons Of The Redd Desert (Ken L), Monday, 22 May 2006 13:47 (sixteen years ago) link

Maybe one of the things that put people off was his judicious, perhaps excessive use of what Momus calls 'moronic-ironic' scare quotes

Sons Of The Redd Desert (Ken L), Monday, 22 May 2006 13:56 (sixteen years ago) link

nabisco strangely silent on this topic

Sons Of The Redd Desert (Ken L), Monday, 22 May 2006 14:24 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...

I'm almost done with Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things and uh, maybe I picked the wrong one? I'm going to try The Sky Changes, too, but I dunno, too anecdote-y for my tastes, but maybe that's the point.

Mr. Que, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 21:10 (fifteen years ago) link

fourteen years pass...

I just came across Imaginative Qualities of Real Things on a booklist I was looking at. Thought it looked interesting so I was just thinking of ordering it as an Interlibrary loan. It's not a quick read then?

Stevolende, Friday, 28 January 2022 13:35 (one year ago) link

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