Posts by tag: reviews

Review: J McElroy’s Ancient History

In the Quarterly Conversation, you’ll find my review of Joseph McElroy’s Ancient History: A Paraphase , which Dzanc is soon reissuing, and Trey Strecker’s review of Cannonball.

From my review:

Whatever the message is, Ancient History and Cy’s manuscript (for they’re one and the same) confront the impossible: Cy seeks in his project to embrace a totality that’s larger and greater than the limits of others’ minds. This high ambition stands parallel to that of Michel Butor’s Degrees (1960; cited by McElroy as a precursor and model for his early work), as well as McElroy’s first novel, A Smuggler’s Bible (1966), whose central protagonist, David Brooke, has “perfect recall.” Similarly gifted, Cy has in his brain an unusually developed “Vectoral Muscle” that enables rare feats of attention, perception, and intuition. On the page, this amounts to what Tony Tanner aptly termed a sense of “egalitarian respect for the most apparently modest detail.” A name on an apartment directory-board that’s “mint white grooved in velvety black,” for instance, or, an egg sandwich seen with “the gold-gray damp of the grease coming into the Pepperidge Farm white.” Like these minute touches, McElroy’s prose can, at its best, almost conjure synesthesia.

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Reviews: J McElroy’s Cannonball

There’s about seven reviews of Cannonball (Dzanc, 2013) out there. Here are the links and short commentary.

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