Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Erasure by Percival Everett

I'm going to be studying with Everett for a few days at Bread Loaf this summer, so I picked up his novel Erasure, which I found fairly stylistically innovative and in parts, very very funny. The protagonist is a writer/professor who has been criticized for not being "black enough" in his work and so under a pseudonym he writes a parody of ghetto life (mostly a mocking of Native Son) and inevitably the book is a huge success. Everett also includes a multitude of subplots, but what I found most striking about the novel is that there is a novel inside of it. Yes, he actually gives the reader the parody. And it is hilarious. And yet you can see, too, how it would sell in the current publishing climate (well, hopefully not quite this exaggerated a version). Everett has such control of his language that he can give us two completely opposite voices and make both work to his own effect.

Mostly I just want to point out that writing is whatever you can get away with. And if you want to write a novel inside your novel you can. And if you want to sprinkle in dialogues between modernist painters (yes, he does) and bits in Latin (oh, yes) and a weird satire in which Jeopardy seems to meet the Battle Royal scene from Invisible Man than you can do that too.

3 comments:

Oliver de la Paz said...

Have fun with Mr. Everett!

Brian said...

Sounds like a great read! What's the title?

-Brian
writingblindly.blogspot.com

A. Papatya Bucak said...

Erasure.