Writer in Residence

Herbert Burkholz, Author
Herbert Burkholz, Author Permanent Press (NY) $28 (310p) ISBN 978-1-877946-11-0
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
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This is the talented Burkholz's ( Strange Bedfellows ) ninth novel, the first volume of his projected Ibiza Tapestry trilogy. Max Levi-Morris, a well-known novelist teaching creative writing at a small, prestigious North Carolina college, uses the five graduate students in a seminar as subjects for his novel-in-progress, eventually involving them in its writing as well. Burkholz interweaves the stories of Levi-Morris, his pupils and friends with the gestating novel, which deals with a famous artist and his annual ritual of burning that year's paintings, apparently in reaction to the deaths of his wife and best friend. As the characters from each ``world'' gradually mix, readers may become a bit confused about which level of the narrative they are visiting. There are occasional moments when the book seems overwritten--a product of the numerous leaps in tone resulting from shifts in voice--while some of the devices (a lengthy switch to play form, for example) seem arbitrary. Ultimately falling short of its ambitious reach, Writer is redeemed by its exhilarating technical audacity, some highly engaging writing and appealing characterization. (Feb.)
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