Reviews: J McElroy’s Cannonball

There’s about seven reviews of Cannonball out there. (I too have written one, and it will appear somewhere sooner or later.)

John Domini wrote a very nice one that’s at BookForum.

Stephen J. Burn has one in the Times Literary Supplement.

Trey Strecker has one at Quarterly Conversation.

Daniel Green panned it at FullStop in a very clumsy, unjustified way. A big wind-up with no actual discussion of the book.

Goodreads user “Aloha” wrote a substantial and positive review.

Jason DeYoung’s review for Music and Literature may be the best of the lot, in more ways than one.

Tom LeClair wrote one for the Daily Beast, which quite surprised me, specifically, to see that he would have his review placed at the DB. A fully credentialed, experienced academic writing for a sensationalist tabloid? Not quite. LeClair is a fantastic critic and interviewer — see Anything Can Happen, his collection of interviews with Larry McCaffery.

But the lede line of this LeClair review is pitiful, and it’s not going to do anything for the Daily Beast either:

Move over Pynchon! 

A Daily Beast editor wrote that gem. Given all the other authors to whom McElroy might be compared (Mosley, Mathews, McCarthy, Gass, etc. — they’re all quite irrelevant in McElroy’s case), Pynchon is a pretty groundless comparison. The comparison is based mainly on the coincidence of paranoia in their work of the 60s and 70s, I think, and also Pynchon’s somewhat greater fame. Reviews of Pynchon’s latest, Bleeding Edge, are finding their way out there just this week — see one that went up at Slate.

But the idea that McElroy is an “unknown” or upstart author in comparison to Pynchon is an utter misconception. Pynchon and McElroy have both been publishing novels since the 60s, both of their work has a wide readership. And it’s worth remembering that over the next two years Dzanc Books will be releasing 5 or so of McElroy’s currently out-of-print books, either in e-book or print: Hind’s Kidnap; Ancient History; Plus; Women and Men; and Exponential.

Who knows, there might be some plays too. There’s been talk of those for a while — they came up back in LeClair’s interview of the late 70s and have been mentioned as forthcoming in a few other contexts.


All posts on this site about Joseph McElroy are archived here.

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