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Matthew Pamatmat has commented on (2) products.

Twilight: A Novel by William Gay
Twilight: A Novel

Matthew Pamatmat, November 24, 2006

I consider Gay's novel Provinces of Night one of the best novels I've ever read, so I was eager for the follow up (follow up not in the sequel sense, but the next book after). Twilight is good but not as great as PON or some of Gay's short stories. Granted, PON is a hard book to follow up. Twilight hits and misses. Like Ridley Scott's movie Alien, in which the real star of the story is the spaceship, the star of Twilight is not its characters but the Harrikin, a wonderfully disregarded ghost town area of Tennessee in which much of the story takes place. It is this part of the novel that is the strongest. The story is a fairly standard chase novel between a bad guy pursuing a good guy, and, unfortunately, Gay employs well-worn devices of his previous writings, like how Twilight culminates in a snowy conclusion (just like PON). Gay also overuses certain words, like "fey" and "malefic", and certain sentences are awkward or run-on. (His editor should have been more active.) These are minor complaints, though, for Gay tells a compelling tale that is not predictable (except for the inevitable battle between the good and bad guy) employing his creative, almost Germanic way of making new words by mixing together separate words. Twilight is less epic in scope than PON, and almost reads at times like a long short story. It is also very similar to the writings of Tom Franklin, Gay's friend, and Franklin's new novel SMONK and Twilight almost have moments of interchangeability.
Overall, I recommend this novel. Gay is an amazingly talented writer, and, as mentioned, Twilight dazzles when the characters are deep in the Harrikin, a place Gay knows and captures well. I could see Twilight being made into a decent movie, if done right. I was a little let down by Twilight (after the literary heights and beauty of PON) but still enjoyed it.
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Smonk by Tom Franklin
Smonk

Matthew Pamatmat, August 27, 2006

Franklin's much-anticipated new novel doesn't disappoint. Doing away with quotation marks for dialogue in the style of William Gay, Franklin writes about what he knows best: the underside of the South. Relentlessly dark yet simulataneously humorous, Smonk is a wild and brutal ride through small towns in Alabama at the turn of the century. Smonk is a villian we can cheer for, like Alex in A Clockwork Orange. Franklin writes well and has a keen eye for detail, ear for dialogue, and imagination for recreating the past. An authentic, harrowing, darkly comic tale. Recommended.
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