The Return of Painting, the Pearl, and Orion

Leslie Scalapino, Author North Point Press $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-86547-469-7
The novels in this trilogy are not novels in any conventional sense. Scalapino rejects the orderly development of plot and character, striking instead at what she perceives to be the radical chaos of human experience by writing from an ever-shifting multitude of perspectives. This style makes for a kind of syntactical avalanche: ``The steely-blue-eyed man is middleaged having been married leaving each is presently so yet obviously becoming involved with a young woman across from him who blinks stumbling in speaking in a halting yet stupid way.'' Remarkably, Scalapino makes the reader aware of the social and economic dimensions of her depictions of disrupted reality. In The Return of Painting , the verbal swarms cluster around AIDS patients and the homeless. Scalapino's approach reaches its galvanizing best in Orion. Openly asserting that her ``refusal of order is rebellion,'' poet Scalapino's writing is bold and invigorating. Yet ultimately, her book is like a tantalizing linguistic mobile, with words, phrases and perspectives now colliding, now combining to form a disjunctive portrait of reality that the reader can all too rarely grasp. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Hardcover - 232 pages - 978-1-883689-58-2
Paperback - 230 pages - 978-1-883689-57-5
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