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Cartesian Sonata: And Other Novellasby William H. Gass
Synopses & Reviews
In the words of the late Walker Percy, William Gass is a totally committed, totally uncompromising, and extraordinarily gifted writer.” His latest work is a suite of four novellas that explore Mind, Matter, and God.In the title story, God is a writer in a constant state of fumble, Mind is a housewife cum modern-day Cassandra, and Matter is—who else?—the helpless and confused husband of Mind. In Bed and Breakfast,” the concept of salvation is explored through material possessions—a collection of kitsch—as a traveling businessman is slowly swamped by the sheer surfeit of matter in a small Illinois town. In Emma Enters a Sentence of Elizabeth Bishops,” a young woman growing up in rural Iowa finds herself losing touch with the physical world as she loses herself in the work of her favorite poet. And in The Master of Secret Revenges,” God appears in the form of a demon to a young man named Luther, whose progress from devilish youth to satanic manhood is recounted with relish and horror.A profound exploration of good and evil, philosophy and action, marked by the wit and style that has always defined the work of William Gass.
"With Cartesian Sonata, his tenth book and fifth work of fiction, William H. Gass adds another spray of glitter to his reputation as the finest prose stylist in America. He is positively Shakespearean in his metaphor-making abilities and brings a jeweler's attention to every detail of his sentences." Washington Post Book World
"William Gass is an amazing magician, the writer who comes closest to turning words into things for us to sniff and taste and hold in our hands. In his new collection he offers a lifetime's worth of his art condensed into four unforgettable novellas, each in its own way a testimony to the human capacity for sympathy and wonder." Joanna Scott, author of The Mannikin
"Gass never tells; he shows, often with the lights out. Mesmerized, mystified or exasperated, we are reminded that reading is a kind of seeing." Boston Book Review
"William Gass regularly demostrates how the artist's devotion is best measured by his concern for the language he cultivates; his scruple and injuction is that beauty, vision and morality require the precision and ingenuity of sentences lovingly constructed....A lavish imagination is all that is lovely about any of Gass's isolated minds. In each novella, meanness or poverty sets us up for ambushes by lines too marvelous to miss." Review of Contemporary Fiction
From the writer the Washington Post calls ”the finest prose stylist in America,” a collection of masterly short fiction—his first in over 30 years.
About the Author
William Gass is the author of five books of fiction and five books of essays. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
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