11114tater4 Crap keeled Wood Carvings Clothes Leather Goods Jewelry Ceramics Other SALADO, TEXAS BOX 156 2nd exit, overpass street, 1 block east, 1 block south. NEW STOCK Titles listed below, and all others stocked by the Texas Observer Bookstore, are offered to Observer subscribers at a 20% discount. \(No membership fee required, and no The amounts shown are the discounted prices, plus the 4’h% sales tax. paperback $ .79 $ 1.63 THE CHEMICAL FEAST $ .79 THE MAKING OF A COUNTER CULTURE $ 1.63 THE CULTURE OF CITIES $ 4.13 TRIAL $ 1.63 NORTH FROM MEXICO $ 2.46 WHOLE EARTH CATALOG $ 2.50 LA CAUSA: THE CALIFORNIA STRIKE …$ 3.29 RADICAL MAN $ 3.54 POWER, POLITICS & PEOPLE: ESSAYS OF C. WRIGHT MILLS $ 3.29 REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON OBSCENITY AND PORNOGRAPHY $ 1.38 REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON THE CAUSES AND PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE $ 1.21 THE KERNER REPORT ON CIVIL DISORDERS $ 1.04 hardback THE CHEMICAL FEAST $ 5.80 $ 5.80 $ 7.09 $ 6.63 LIVING THE GOOD LIFE $ 4.13 INSIDE THE THIRD REICH $10.43 Order from the Texas Observer Bookstore 504 West 24, Austin, Texas 78705 8.I’m afraid Mr. Barthelme’s whole discussion of the narration stuck me as insensitive. I do not think the handling of the narration was any towering success \(and I could have chosen more damning think it so dopily inconsistant. In a long third-person novel, with many characters, one can either hold a firm authorial voice and sacrifice intimacy with one’s characters, or one can veer from one character to another and hope that when one must return to authorial voice it will not seem too remote. I chose the latter. Long novels are sloppy to write. I am not a pointillist. It bothered me throughout the review that Mr. Barthelme drew so few literary comparisons. If he had they would doubtless have been to my discredit, but I would have liked them there, anyway. Has he read any long novels? He only mentions five books, four of them short. It is absurd to chide the author of a long novel for a lack of interest in economy. If economy interested me I would have written a short book. In fact I find economy a fucking bore, whether it be literary, sexual, or monetary. It bespeaks the tight-ass, and while it may be a virtue in homeowners and a word beloved of pedagogues, but it’s hardly the mistress for a novelist. Tolstoy didn’t give a fig for economy. Neither did Dostoevsky, Proust, Balzac, Cervantes, Dickens, Fielding, George Eliot, Hardy, Melville. On the whole I would have been more sympathetic to Mr. Barthelme’s criticism of my narration if he had quoted at least one passage in which it was really unclear whose judgment the reader was getting. He might have, but he didn’t. 9.A word about serviceable prose, and high and low emphasis. Poets and short-story writers flinch their way through long novels because they contain, of necessity, so many colorless, ordinary sentences. One writes things like, “He shaved,” so often that one flinches from it oneself and the next time the matter comes up, one writes, “He had disposed of his beard.” Mr. Barthelme is annoyed with me for going on so boringly about the hair-combings and dress-buyings of ordinary life. I’m sorry. I think novels take their life from texture and detail. There are many low-emphasis scenes in Moving On. If the lives I’m interested in rendering don’t interest Mr. Barthelme that’s my bad luck, but those lives do interest me and he has not suggested an alternative method for rendering them. Like him, I am indifferent to structure, but I find texture absorbing. To risk trying to render the boredoms and niggling repetitions and small shifts of feeling that make up the emotional lives of more or less ordinary people is to risk being boring, but I still think it’s an interesting thing to try. THE charge of dullness is of course undebatable. No author in his right mind expects every reader to be as interested in what he was writing about as he is. I was interested in marriage. Mr. Barthelme is more interested in rodeo. The best rodeo novel I know is called No Flowers For a Clown. I think it’s by Stanley Elkins. If he knows any good marriage novels I wish he’d put me on to them. 10.He says Sonny Shanks is the only man in the book who is dominant in his sexual relationships. No one seems to have noticed a couple named the Hortons. I thought Flap Horton did fairly well, without trampling Emma. Dominance too seems to me to be a matter of shading and emphasis. Unequivocal dominance generally does involve some trampling, doesn’t it? 11.Sex. I wasn’t too pleased with the sex in the book, either. What can one do? The New Pornography has long since sucked all the effect out of physical description, and Black Humour has by now pretty well exhausted the comic approach. The only strategy I could think of was to try to do sex through approaches and aftermaths, in both of which, it seems to me, the goodness or badness of the sexual relationship makes itself felt. Maybe it didn’t work. 12.”Patsy herself is not particularly interesting. She seems to be a normal, healthy, bored, wealthy, married young woman of about average intelligence.” Well, here again Mr. Barthelme’s interest diverges from mine. There’s them as likes rodeo and violence and the Berthoud Pa’ss, and then there’s them as likes normal, healthy, bored young women. Bored women are God’s gift to novelists about His only gift, I might add. The 19th February 26, 1971 23 MARTIN ELFANT Sun Life of Canada 1001 Century Building Houston, Texas CA 4-0686 t , rip:4 z ‘ Since 1886 The Place in Austin GOOD FOOD GOOD BEER 1607 San Jacinto GR 7-4171
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