Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Barthelme's The Dead Father, Praising of

So you finished it.

Did. Did indeed. That section, the one I balked at? Turned out, there's where the book kicked into high gear.

These clich├ęs . . . 

The book umped the umpdoodle. It flang me. I was kerflanged. "The Dead Father" himself becomes secondary to the concept of father, or at least an Overfather, the big boss. One--


--gets the sense that Barthelme's own father was a bruiser, thick of word and hand, a man to be, with much difficulty, processed and put behind. And so in the novel they drag his brobdingnagian carcass and take his power bit by bit. I relaxed with the book when I realized I didn't have to parse it all or even figure out who was talking in its non sequitur–packed conversations. The end was beautiful, just beautiful. A fine thing.

You've spoken your speaking.

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