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

« Cavalier Assertions | Main | Defending Barth »




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.


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.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)