A Journal of the Irrepressible

Archive for June, 2001

Fiction Eyes: Review of Burning Down the House by Charles Baxter

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Discussed in this essay: Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House.

Novelist, short-story writer, self-described former poet, and creative writing teacher Charles Baxter has a keen eye and a strong heart for detail. In Burning Down the House he wrestles with “the imagination’s grip on daily life and how one lives in the pressure of that grip.” Because they grip us, because we wrestle with them, the images and voices of the imagination require the attention of a muscular criticism: the keen eye of the narrator, plus compassion—a willingness to accept the “other” without capitulating the ideals, the imagination, of one’s own community. Baxter reads the tropes of America the way a masseuse approaches muscle, feeling for knots and eddies in the landscape of textured skin and sinew. Baxter has detected a knot among contemporary American narratives: a strain, in the senses of both species and stress. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Brian

June 30th, 2001 at 11:56 pm

Posted in reviews, writing