Sunday, August 19, 2007

From Humbert Humbert's To-Be-Read Stack

Unreliable narrators get their say in three novels I reviewed for the San Francisco Chronicle. The protagonist of "Crooked Little Vein" by Warren Ellis might be telling the outrageous truth, but the main characters of Matt Ruff's "Bad Monkeys" and "A Good and Happy Child" definitely can't be trusted.

On a related note, everyone is linking to this New Yorker article about the not-always-reliable Philip K. Dick. Gopnik gets off to a shaky start with nutty arguments like the following:

Since genre writing can support only one genius at a time—and no genre writer ever becomes just a good writer; it’s all prophet or all hack—the guy is usually resented by his peers and their partisans even as the establishment hails him. No one hates the rise of Elmore Leonard so much as a lover of Ross Macdonald.
The essay improves after that point.

Of course, we all may be living in a vast computer simulation, so what does it matter?

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