Maybe because it is a he.
This is not to imply any sexism (well, maybe some inherent sexism.. but that's not my fault, is it? Surely mankind can take the blame for a few on my faults..)
But seriously. It's not that I don't LIKE women writers. I don't know why it is, really.. I'm at a loss.
I think I can count on one hand female writers I've thoroughly read, from cover to cover, in the past 5 years. Going over the books in my library (there are more than a 1000..) I can spot out Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Sylvai Plath's The Bell Jar, Irene Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise, Nicole Krauss' The History of Love: A Novel & Susan Sontag's Reborn: Journals & Notebooks, 1947--1963 (the last one doesn't really count as a novel, but all's fair in love and war..)Anyway, you try to find the linking thread between these women authors (or books), I sure as hell can't find any..
This is quite appalling, I know.
But I guess I'm just a sucker for the Mainspeak, if I am to invent an pseudo-Orwellian term: The speech of Man. The Main Speech.
I like to read outside this Main Speech, sometimes. Some queer literature, some junky narratives, some psychotic thrillers.. But that's all within the norm, isn't it? Mainspeak's devoured every speech and made it its own, hasn't it? Even women's..
Is there any difference, then, between literature written by women and literature written by men? To be continued..
I've stumbled upon Carson McCullers'
So, what drew me to this book of all books, you ask?
Well, the cover, for starters (have you ever bought a book solely for its cover?). It features a fragment from a very beautiful picture by the American photographer, Jack Delano, entitled '
And then the vague notion that I knew this title from somewhere (that must have happened to you more than once..)
This specific edition is a Penguin Classics (you know, those silver covers; they used to come in horrid-green, but they don't do anymore.. thank God!)
The back cover is also appealing. It features the image of a young woman, very liberated but somewhat troubled. It could have been taken anywhere since the 1930's, perhaps, but it seems highly-contemporaneous.
So much for the cover, what about the book??
Well, having read an excerpt from it, I think I can write a few words about it.. But first of all I would like to share a few insights about the time it was written and published in with the Excerpt's readers..
The 1960's mark a dramatic climate change in American culture. This change is also apparent in the literature written before, during and after this cultural revolution. Grossly speaking, one can mark American literature written before (and in some cases during) the 1960's as highly idealistic and naive, often too-pragmatic and much less subversive than the literature written afterwards.
Naturally, there are a few distinguishable exceptions to this rule: Joseph Heller's Catch-22 (1961),
Now this is just fine if you like your novels small-town, small-people, idealistic and moralistic..
In the Excerpt Reader's view,
Why the title,