Fall is blockbuster season, but if you’re looking for proof that there’s much more to celebrate in October than eagerly awaited releases by Messrs. Eugenides and Murakami, look no further than this post. October also marks the release of Joshua Mohr’s Damascus and Greg Olear’s Fathermucker, two titles I read in galley months ago and enjoyed immensely.
How can we, as writers, best utilize our resources? What choices can we make to pay adequate tribute? What techniques have other writers used? What are our responsibilities? How can we best tell our stories while valuing integrity? What would a writer be without his or her borrowings?
Ms Bergman reveals in short bursts how she can slide a character that is run of the mill, down a path that is anything but. Does she bump into a farm hand that wants her to save more than an animal? I immediately thought of the movie Brubaker when I read this.
Someday, a graduate student will do a catalog of every cultural reference in the book: every Hollywood movie, every piece of music high or low, every pop culture reference, writer, philosophical and religious concept that Murakami has included and form a snapshot of Murakami’s brain.
How big is your carbon foot print? Malachi wants to know, and he sounds like a giant pain in the ass. He’s convinced the human race will go down like the dinosaurs. So why is she with him? Oh, well, she gets pregnant, and Malachi wants her to choose between his set in stone ideas that the world isn’t worth spit, and a child.
After two novels and some short stories, I now number Chaon firmly among my favorite working American novelists (a group that also includes Stewart O’Nan and Jess Walter). What do these writers have in common? Pathos. Amazing characterization. Supreme confidence. A shit-ton of voice.