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Customer Review

71 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone. Certainly not for me., April 30, 2004
This review is from: The Tunnel (Paperback)
If I were to tell the protagonist from The Tunnel that I had issues with his book, he'd probably just wave me sideways towards the Party for Disappointed People. Get in line, he'd sigh. Life is disappointing.

I liked the conceit of the Party for Disappointed People. I liked many of the one liners. I admired Gass' writing ability. Mostly I admired the project even if I confess that I couldn't like the book.

652 pages of dense (often unreadable) prose with a grotty poorly-endowed main character who has affairs with his students, kills his wife's cat and generally feels sorry for himself. Whoosh. It took me weeks to read, and *nothing* takes me weeks to read. I genuinely tried to follow everything in the book, but I have to confess that my grasp of his German experiences is spotty and I never really got Susu. The clearest and most readable bit was the bitchy backbiting about his colleagues in the department where he teaches. That was at least funny.

Generally, I felt like it tried way too hard to be a huge sprawling classic. I agreed with much of what it said about history and how you approach it-- again, the project is what I admired. Maybe I just couldn't feel too much for a book that seems to reject any ability to feel joy or to be anything except disappointed. I mean I *love* Beckett, but Gass isn't Beckett and I never got the feeling that he earned all that bitterness. Kohler isn't sympathetic either as a hero or as an anti-hero and while I guess that's part of the point, I didn't find that I admired the point.

Maybe I'm just not literary enough. Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky. Anything is possible. Read it yourself and see.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 14, 2015 9:36:01 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 14, 2015 9:36:22 AM PDT
CyberCrone says:
Old and cranky can mean that you no longer buy into the hype and hero-hysteria that we all bought into when we were young and wanting desperately to be literary. I see I am commenting 11 years after your original post, which you might not even remember anymore. Oh well.
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frumiousb
(VINE VOICE)   

Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Top Reviewer Ranking: 24,527