Friday, October 13, 2006

Suspicions of Charles Frazier Confirmed

Maybe I do like Slate! The review by Stephen Metcalf of Charles Frazier's new novel, Thirteen Moons, confirms my fear that Frazier sold out.

When Cooper reunites, after decades of separation, with the love of his life, he writes, "At sixteen I had thought Claire was the prettiest thing I had ever seen. And also at seventeen, eighteen, twenty-three, thirty. But now [deep into middle age] she was only some of the person I remembered. I had never guessed she could ever look like this. She had been awfully pretty, but now she was beautiful." In the margin of the book, I wrote: "Nota bene: To move 4 million units, fifty-something women must love me." A few pages later, the sexually awakened Claire, who had been mourning the death of her husband (not Will), throws off her black crepe to appear in a "shining silk dress of midsummer green." In the margin of my book, I wrote: "Hollywood."

Yikes. I just knew he went to a bigger publishing house and got a huge advance, but I didn't know he built in these sellable details, or let his editor include them. I think we can all agree that leaves a bad taste in one's mouth, no?

My favorite line: "The novel is a commodity disguised as an act of witness against the culture of the commodity." Metcalf shoots and scores!

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