Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Gift from the Writer Gods

Sometimes, you get a little gift from the writer gods to let you know that they love you, and they want you to be happy. Jeffrey Eugenides' new novel, The Marriage Plot, and this amazing article from New York Magazine were two such gifts from the patron saint of researchers and academics. 

I've been researching pretty hard core only for several weeks now. It's hard to know if you're getting anywhere sometimes. Sure, I've found a lot of stuff. I have a lot of pdfs set to read on my kindle. I have made a lot of notecards. But are those just fun tricks to convince myself I've got something tangible? Especially when most of it isn't on these post-post modernists guys I'm mostly concerned with. 

Part of the reason I'm interested in these guys academically is because, so far, they aren't really being discussed. Up until now, they were just too young. Didn't have enough material. And I was sort of feeling around in the dark about these hunches I had about certain aspects of their friendships played out in their work. 

For whatever reason, this article soothed me-- confirmed that I was on the right track. Though pretty stinkin comprehensive for an NYMag article, it kind of scratches the surface of where I wanna go with this research. Just listen to this quote from Wallace in a letter to Franzen: 

"You seem so mad at me. Why do you want to be my friend?"

Ugh. Amazing. They were fighting about each other's writing. About the fate and future of the novel. What the post -post modernist novel should be. It's like lit-cat-nip. 

My friend Brian (who is a writer, I should point out) says he's absolutely uninterested in anything going on with the contemporary novel. And yet, he's writing one, here in 2011. What I've discovered about myself over the last year or so is that I was either wrong about myself, or I'm in the middle of a bit of a paradox. Because, while I consider myself to be a deeply nostalgic person, nothing--  nothing, interests me more than whatever is going on in fiction right now.

Read The Marriage Plot. I had to make myself put it away last night. I'm up early read it again today-- on a hunt in a post-post modernist roman a clef (even if Eugenides says it isn't. I don't think I believe him.)

(All photos from the NY Mag article)

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