Somehow I came across Percival Everett’s name, not sure exactly where. I checked out Percival Everett by Virgil Russell from the library. It is a very meta novel, a novel for people who really like to analyze novels… reading it I remembered a feeling that I had reading Snow White by Donald Barthelme back maybe in 1984… the feeling is: “This novel is too much like work.” I wonder if that is a general feeling by non-literature focused academics. We want our literature to be really smart (mostly) but once it shifts to being work, then it is like working a 12 hour day even when winding down. Anyway, Everett is a really excellent writer, and Percival Everett by Virgil Russell has several compelling stories in it (the painter whose perhaps daughter suddenly appears, the doctor who has a horses on a ranch outside of LA who treats the perhaps meth dealing neighbor, the son and father engaged in a tricky dialogues as they write their respective stories, the old men in a nursing home, the 60s speechwriter…) I wish I had time to figure it out. Is it a puzzle? Is there a hidden message? Would a second reading produce another layer of meaning? A different mood? I know that enough permeated me so that when I think of father-son relationships I’ll probably remember this novel. That may be enough to ask of a novel, that it does some service in one’s brain. Everett has a bunch of other novels; I am going to read Erasure next.
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