A critical fiction, as publisher Henry Wessells explains in his introduction to this collection of eight eclectic tales, is "a work of art that explicitly declares itself as a critique of another work of literature." Mixing collage and Burroughs-esque cut-up technique with traditional narrative, Walker (Blue Fire, a Poetic Nonfiction) presents works that veer from the whimsically self-reflective to the fragmented and obscure. In "A Document from the Secret Archive of Grent Oude Wayl, Esquire," the language of the story becomes a landscape navigable by the inhabitants of the country it describes. "Being nothing content" alternates a historical account of King Lear with cut-and-pasted strings of words whose chaos reflects the turmoil of Lear's personal drama. Similarly, "Hysterical Operators: The Inspector of Factories Visits the Lover of Melodrama" intertwines linear and non-linear narrative strands that evoke the opposing personalities of the titular characters. Though the literary works Walker critiques are not always identifiable, it is not necessary to be familiar with them to appreciate the creativity and experimentation she displays. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011 Release date: 00/00/0000 Genre: Fiction
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