My first ever official book review has just been published over at The Quarterly Conversation. It’s a review of a collection of three short stories entitled Fists, written by the talented young Italian author, Pietro Grossi.
To become a true aficionado of Fredric Jameson’s early work, there is a rite of passage which one must first perform. Essentially, it entails a radical rethinking of Hemingway’s style, to the extent that it becomes impossible ever to read him in the same way again. Jameson, in Marxism and Form (1971), makes the remarkable assertion that the real subject of Hemingway’s oeuvre is not courage, love, death, and so on, but rather ‘the writing of a certain type of sentence, the practice of a determinate style’. Hemingway discovered, so Jameson tells us, that by forgetting about words themselves and focussing on prearranging the objects those words are supposed to describe, one can omit certain external spatial displacements or internal emotional occurrences such that the result is a resounding symphony in the void of connotation. The excitement of reading Hemingway is only partly that of the chase or the battle; at a more profound level it is the thrill of seeing whether Hemingway’s sparse prose can rise to the challenge of the event it must portray.
For the full review, click here.