27 ene. 2008


William Gass. Cartesian Sonatas and Other Novellas, 1998.

Every one of these four novellas has a brilliant conceit at its core. "The Master of Secret Revenge," about a man who needs to exact revenge for every trivial slight and offence. Another about a sleazy itinerant accountant enchanted by the odd knicknacks and momentoes at a Bed and Breakfast run by an earnest older woman and her invalid husband. Still another about a woman with sensory overload, extreme synesthesia. Each is carried to its logical extreme at excruciating length. They are short stories bloated to the length of novellas, rather than novels made into concise, pared-down versions of themselves. Gass can write. He can also overwrite. You often find yourself listening to an explanation of something you understood perfectly well 30 pages earlier.