Wednesday, February 01, 2006

You should read this guy

In the first sentence Stu gets a phone call with shocking news about his brother Dan; as often happens in Dixon's work, we see revisions of this initial scene, replays, re-imaginings (Dixon is not shy about allowing a glimpse of the writerly mind at work). Then a series of reminiscences and phone calls over decades of the brothers' lives acquaint us with them, their unusually tragic family, and post-WW2 America as macrocosm. I love Dixon's voice, I love his quirky and intimate style, and his final chapter brought me to the brink of bawling (I can't remember the last novel that affected me in this way). Funny, touching--intricately wrought as Bellow or Roth but much less demanding.

You get a cool jacket illustration of the author by the author to boot. Stephen Dixon is perhaps my favorite living writer, what with John Hawkes dead. Is Gilbert Sorrentino still around?

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