March 9, 2010

On Agape Agape

Having never read Gaddis, but intrigued by the comparisons to several of my favorite authors (Joyce, Pynchon, etc) I decided to read him. Like many teachers putting forth _Dubliners_ or _A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man_ or _The Crying of Lot 49_ as the simpler, smaller books by a "great" author, I chose the shortest one. This book was written at the end of Gaddis's long life, and is the distillation of a lot of his themes and concerns and ideas that populated his earlier, more celebrated works. Apparently. Maybe I shouldn't have picked this book. It was only OK in my opinion. The stream of consciousness thing has been done before, and at times, I thought I was reading a book written in 1928, not 1998 because of the technique. The thing is, I couldn't really tell you what the book was "about." Its an interior rant about an old dying man who is hung up on the nature of art and technology really, but sometimes it made more sense on the page by page level than the global level. The writing and structure and vocabulary and reputation are enough to make me want to read more of his work, but I think I'll go read some Brits first.