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Sheer Fiction, Volume Four
INCLUDES INDEX TO VOLUMES 1-4 This fourth and final installment of Paul West's collected literary essays begins with two paeans for departed friends, the novelist John Hawkes and the astronomer Carl Sagan, and a review of a book about famous literary suicides. Then West immediately launches into a cross-examination of Nobel Prize novelist J. M. Coetzee's...
INCLUDES INDEX TO VOLUMES 1-4 This fourth and final installment of Paul West's collected literary essays begins with two paeans for departed friends, the novelist John Hawkes and the astronomer Carl Sagan, and a review of a book about famous literary suicides. Then West immediately launches into a cross-examination of Nobel Prize novelist J. M. Coetzee's curious employment of West himself as a character in the novel Elizabeth Costello. That alone is worth the ticket. But the sixteen essays which follow record the distances between mimetic projection of fictive personae and the "visionary plunge into what cannot be kept out of the mind" --dalliance, in other words, versus necessity. Here, predictably, West is at his best. Subjects range from an epic poem of the Titanic to the teaching of Samuel Beckett, and from a meeting with Borges to the complexities of Faulkner. West considers the future of the novel, conducts inquiries of the works of William Gass and Bradford Morrow, and offers asides about his own working methods and how he came to write certain of his books. Fittingly, Sheer Fiction IV includes an extensive index to all four volumes of Sheer Fiction published over the past eighteen years, making this volume indispensable to West's triumphant oeuvre.
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