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Passion Artist (American Literature (Dalkey Archive)) Paperback – June 10, 2010

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“What an ambitious undertaking! The Passion Artist is a symbolic journey of the familiar territory men and women dispute between them, a rich philosophical observation of the differences in our sexes—and the overwhelming need for compassion and love. It is a lush, poetic, dark work, but it is also comic and true—and everywhere it is touched with the erotic power of John Hawkes’s language. He and Kurt Vonnegut are simply the most original first-rate writers in this country.” (John Irving, author of The World According to Garp)

“John Hawkes writes with dizzying brilliance.” (Charles Nicol - National Review)

“His sentences are themselves ‘events.’” (William Gaddis, author of The Recognitions)

About the Author

John Hawkes (1925-1998) was one of the most innovative and widely regarded novelists of the twentieth century. Born in Stamford, Connecticut, and educated at Harvard University, Hawkes taught at Brown University for thirty years. Praised by Leslie Fiedler, Flannery O'Connor, and William H. Gass, who wrote, "when it comes to the engravement of the sentence . . . no one can match him," Hawkes was the author of numerous acclaimed novels, including The Lime Twig, The Beetle Leg, Second Skin, Adventures in the Alaskan Skin Trade and The Passion Artist.
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Product Details

  • Series: American Literature (Dalkey Archive)
  • Paperback: 185 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press (June 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564785602
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564785602
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,764,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Steiner VINE VOICE on August 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
In this typically beautiful little book of John Hawkes', Konrad Vost--a widower obsessed with his schoolgirl daughter--is thrown into a revolt of the unconscious. Across from his daily café, there is situated a woman's prison where his mother is incarcerated. Eventually, through the dense morass that constitutes Hawkes' poetic prose, we experience the revolt of the prison, as well as Vost's bizarre journey into a seemingly groundless landscape of fantasy and nightmare. While Hawkes is only barely able to hold on to the amorphous contours of his story, we can only be mesmerized by the formally strange and powerful constructions of his sentences. He is an imagist of the grand style--a truly wild and beautifully wrought book.
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Format: Paperback
Hawkes' novel about a man whose obsession with women seems trapped in pre-adolescent ignorance is dark, disgusting and tedious. It is prettily written by an author with a good grasp of language, but it is a story that entirely fails to engage. There are no characters with whom to identify, no plot that draws one in, no sympathetic emotions aroused. Were it not a very small volume, and were Hawkes' reputation not highly touted, I would have quit the book early. But I slogged on and can only blame myself for the waste of time.

I hasten to add that as a writer and reader I have no problem with exploration of sexuality, with dysfunction, with examination of obsession or with dark and difficult subjects. I don't expect every novel to be full of sweetness and light and I don't shy away from difficult subjects or profundity. But this book is ugliness dressed pretentiously as art, and it doesn't simply fail the smell test, it really stinks.
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