Thu Aug 24, 2006
As I finally read the title story in Wallace’s recent collection last night, I noticed a reference to Kurt Eichenwald’s Serpent on the Rock that I couldn’t quite place. I thought of an experimental or symbolist Austrian writer, perhaps, one whom the precious narrator might choose for his livre de chevet. The actual book was, of course, even more suitable; but these hyperintellectualized interior portraits (think of the last brief interview with a hideous man, the law student) seem comments only on the impossibility of narrative projection or empathy. I am reminded of the voluntary autistics from Greg Egan’s Distress.
Googled a bit to see what others had said, cringing in anticipation of what I may find after writing something both brief and unrevealing above, I see, from a small sample (one not including Stephen Burn’s perceptive piece), that it must be horrifying indeed to write, publish, and be met with so little understanding. But see above.