Re: RARA-AVIS: "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy

From: jacquesdebierue (
Date: 15 Jul 2009

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    --- In, Sean Shapiro <ssshapir@...> wrote:

    > The last thing Proulx wants is for you to start wondering whether someone with blood spurting from severed arms is going to stand rooted long enough to see more than one bird disappear, catch an insect, and reappear, or whether the whole scene is not in bad taste of the juvenile variety. Instead you are meant to read the sentence in one mental breath and succumb, under the sheer accumulation of words, to a spurious impression of what Walter Kendrick, in an otherwise mixed review in The New York Times, called "brilliant prose" [snip]

    Annie Proulx does suffer from inflation -- just a couple of days ago I had a conversation with a guy who talked the way Proulx writes: insufferable. It is not a new species, though. Diarrheic writers have probably always existed, all the way back to oral literature. I do get suspicious when a review mentions "brilliant prose". If a book is very good, you don't have to mention prose. It's understood the book is made of words, in other words, it's written, i.e., "prose". Anecdotally, the incestuous literary world in Spain uses the "good/brilliant prose" as the standard device to promote duds. "Sure, the story is thin, but boy does he have prose!".


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