My essay-review of Harold Jaffe's Induced Coma is now available at The Kenyon Review Online:
If any writer deliberately proceeded throughout his career to almost ensure his work would be ignored by critics and publishers, it would have to be Harold Jaffe. Jaffe has steadfastly continued to write fiction that is formally and conceptually adventurous while at the same time advancing a radical sociopolitical critique that portrays US culture in the most starkly unfavorable light. From his first novel, Mole's Pity (1979), to his newest collection of “docufictions,” Induced Coma , Jaffe has challenged assumptions about fiction as a literary form and enlisted his work in the effort to resist the maleficent influences of America’s “official culture,” a culture that undermines human well-being and despises real human freedom. Since inevitably many readers are uncertain how to respond to these objections, at worst confused about, if not actively hostile toward, the purposes behind them, it is not surprising that Jaffe’s books are seldom reviewed and are usually published by small, even marginal, independent presses. . . . Continue reading.