The Novel: A Poem

Paul Hoover, Author New Directions Publishing Corporation $19.95 (60p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1148-2
Hoover's engaging, challenging book-length poem reads like a detective story where the private eye, always one step out of sync, unwittingly tracks himself. The detective here is the writer on the trail of authorial creation--author meets author--and Hoover, who combines the knowledge of a deconstructionist critic with the trickery of a copywriter, plays the theme for all its worth. He is able to break down the authority (as in author) of the text and conflate the roles of writer and reader, by mimicking the process through which all storytelling, both public and private, takes place. The same stream of thoughts that we, the readers, use to build our own stories also provides the raw material for the novelist: ``The shadows of thoughts, like thoughts, / have language but no words.'' The literary repertoire of the past serves, too, as a creative source for the writer, and Hoover assaults the reader with a fantastic parade of references, from the most sublime--Eliot, Shakespeare, Proust--to the most low-brow and popular--paperback crime fiction and advertising ditties. Hoover is the author of a novel, Saigon, Illinois. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
Paperback - 60 pages - 978-0-8112-1153-6
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