William H. Gass on The Tunnel, Rilke (1998)
March 2, 2014 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Silverblatt's 1995 review of The Tunnel.

If you sit down to read "The Tunnel," really read it, you can not help but come away altered. Not because the world it describes is imaginary, but rather because in "The Tunnel" states of reality are multiple and simultaneous. How literature does this is a question of style. Imagine meeting yourself as a fatso in a Dickens novel, now you are abject in a Raymond Carver story, now obsessed and lurid in a case study by Freud, and now, barely there, you're abstracted by Plato. Do you still know who you are? William Gass can give us a Raymond Carver character as analyzed by Freud blown up into a balloon by Dickens' caricaturing style--and give us a Platonic theory of identity as an encore. Can Gass still be himself? I would recognize a page of William Gass anywhere.
posted by chavenet at 4:38 PM on March 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

So that's how you pronounce Barthelme!

More from Gass on designing The Tunnel.
posted by Lorin at 4:44 PM on March 2, 2014

I'm a huge fan of Michael Silverblatt, but I have to limit my exposure to his podcasts because I believe I have purchased every single book he has recommended, solely on the basis of his recommendation.

His interview of David Mitchell, in which he discusses with Mitchell the purpose of fiction, is unparalleled.
posted by janey47 at 12:05 PM on March 3, 2014

pls pls pls transcript?
posted by lalochezia at 1:30 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older Come Find Me   |   "That was I. That was me. That was the author of... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments