Btb3
Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press

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01/31/2006

Comments

derik

I was paging through this at the library last week. I think I'll have to go borrow it and read it now.

Walter (QB)

Thanks for this. It's the best meditation on Dixon--one of my favorite contemporary writers--that I've seen in a while, and it clarifies ideas about him that I've had, half-formed and immature, in my head for ages.

Andrew

I've been trying to turn friends onto Dixon for years, with little success--and I think the reason lies in his "deliberate effort to compose a style that seems without style." It's paradoxical, because this anti-style, very colloquial, sometimes notational, is so readable that it's easy finish his novels in one or two sittings. I think what turns a lot of people off is that Dixon isn't going for something more pretty in his prose (although a lot of his fiction, especially some his earlier stories, rely a lot on rhythm for their effect). And also, as Dan mentioned, Dixon relies on a kind of cumulative effect, so that the deeper you get into Phone Rings, the more emotionally resonant each recorded mundanity becomes.

I think you could take this a step further and say this about Dixon's fiction taken as a whole: the more you read, the better it gets. He's been obsessed with the quest for realism, or honesty or truth--and the different narrative methods that work best for him to find these things--for a long time now, and a lot of his fiction, especially his more recent novels, shares the formal sensibilities of Phone Rings.

In any case, I find that the more I read, the more I appreciate this author and feel lucky to have found him. I will forward this essay to friends and make them take another crack at him. Phone Rings is as good a place to start as any.

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