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

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Laura Frey

I've been drawn to books about memory and parent-child relationships lately. And I've been looking for a "challenging" books that is off the beaten path. I admit I've never heard of this author or any of the authors mentioned here, but I went and read the Drowning story and wow. It's a poem? A story? I don't know.

I especially like your discussion about accessibility. I was at a reading recently where Patrick deWitt was speaking about just this, only I didn't quite get what he meant when he said he liked his writing "accessible, but not dumbed down." I think this is what he meant:

"The reader's experience will be incomplete without this sort of attentiveness, but this doesn't make her work difficult or inaccessible. Only readers who close themselves off to the possibility of a more expansive reading experience, expansive in the sense that reading is more than gliding along the surface of words but can be provisional and recursive, will find Raffel's fiction perplexing. Patient readers will find it enlivening."

Where would you recommend a new reader start? One of the short story collections, or the novel?

Dan Green

Any one of the three books would be a good start. Perhaps the first one, In the Year of Long Division.

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