Wednesday, March 3, 2010

barry hannah, heck of a writer

Again on Hannah, the more obituaries I read, the more amazing he sounds. A friend appreciates Hannah's honesty when he describes his teaching "haggardly" at Clemson (LATimes, linked one blog below); the NYTimes obit makes his language and characterization sound immediate and intense:

Hannah's honesty appears again in the piece: “I am doomed to be a more lengthy fragmentist... In my thoughts, I don’t ever come on to plot in a straightforward way.”

Again, I'm reminded of Ha Jin's thought that many of the great novels have technical flaws; language, voice, and/or character dominate plot and pacing in so many of my favorites, ranging from Knut Hamsun's Hunger to Fred Exley's A Fan's Notes. For fans of plot, pacing, and action, I recommend a trip to the movies.

I'm pretty sure the bookstores could stimulate sales by pasting obituaries of writers on the windows by the entrance; the LA and NYTimes have me hopped up on literary death, and I'm near ready to traffic online in Barry Hannah's fiction. I will report back after I read.

Note: "heck" is a euphemism for "hay" as in "what the hay"; hay is also for horses.


Note: USK consulted Sandra Boyton's Moo, Baa, La La La! for the proper spelling of "neigh"; it seems worth mentioning that this witty board book is a national treasure that relies less on plot than language and character.

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