introducing readers to writers since 1995

January 19, 2005

This Means Something. This Is Important.
(As Roy Neary Might Say)

by Ron Hogan

Dan Wickett scores back-to-back interviews with John Haskell and Dean Bakopoulos for his Emerging Writers Forum. Haskell, who has been reading from his first novel, American Purgatorio, in Manhattan recently, says:

"I've always felt that serious fiction deals with more than just some character doing some thing, that the writer is talking about society or a person's relationship to society, or a person's relationship to what it means to be alive. To that extent, I hate reviews that act as consumer bulletins. Consumer bulletins aren't bad, but what I would like to see is a dialogue. Fiction writing has been relegated to the sidelines because the necessity of fiction, the necessity of looking at the human predicament, is largely glossed over."

I'm thinking that perhaps the review American Purgatorio has received from Joy Press (Village Voice) might be to his liking. Carolyn See (WaPo) also tries from the opening line to engage the reader in a rhetorical dialogue; the only problem with this strategy is that it takes her three paragraphs to get to the book.

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