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And as someone observed, “The hardest kind of writing is being smart about books.” (Okay, that was me.) Perhaps, to a blockhead, that reason alone makes it worth the effort to try.
Both have portrayed disaffected, alienated youth through the generational filter of pop culture (members of a club that also includes Michael Chabon and Dave Eggers, I guess), yet both have gone on to cast wider nets over life and lives.For these are all books that I genuinely loved, and wanted to write about, for one reason or another. , John Barth (2011) Even into his early eighties (born 1930), the long-reigning master of postmodernism (hipsters call it “po-mo,” or even “pomo”) demonstrates his endurance as a playful-yet-profound observer and contemplator of humanity and life. Barth describes a young writer in a small house in Upstate New York with a full teaching load and a young family.The title refers to aging — how an old man’s every third thought is of death, quoting Prospero in when he is planning to return to Milan, “Where every third thought shall be of my grave.” The main character is an elderly author who remains upbeat and energetic, reflecting, “That still gives First and Second Thoughts to get stuff done in.” The irrepressible John Barth chronicles life’s late stages with the same crafty sleight-of-hand and bawdy gusto he brought to portraying youth — when it might be said that every third thought was of another end. His writing is accomplished in stolen hours, with the aid of earplugs and amphetamines.) John Barth blossomed into his own mature style with in 1960 — highly intelligent and deeply learned, yet somehow warm and friendly, darkly comic and satirical — and always with a light-hearted carnality that might be dubbed “satyrical.” Since then Mr.To quote Ovid (some wisdom demands repetition), “If the art is concealed, it succeeds.” Subtle shadings of description and mood are woven with consummate skill into sentences of modern brevity and clarity, but the rhythm of words is used like phrases of music — to make description mood.Michael Chabon is also not afraid to toss in what a John Steinbeck character called “a little hooptedoodle.” Which brings this conversation about contemporary writers to a brief reflection on their predecessors — the “moderns” before “post,” the “mo” before “po.” In the early ’80s I was in a Manhattan bookstore, and asked about a biography of John Steinbeck I had read about.