View Full Version : William Gaddis: Carpenter's Gothic
The effortlessness of Gaddis casting voices, compared to the heavier-handed works of his younger acolytes, is humbling. The whole book seems to be written effortlessly. It?s a quick, fun read, written with a master?s hand who took on a genre and made it his. The boards and structures of the genre are there, but the fittings are Gaddis? and the heart of the house, it?s soul, is his as well. And no one could have done a better job on either of them. s*: Fittings: William Gaddis? ?Carpenter?s Gothic? (http://shigekuni.blogspot.com/2009/01/fittings-william-gaddis-carpenters.html)
Now, I'm off to read JR.
I haven't yet read any of Gaddis' work, and I'm sure Carpenter's Gothic wouldn't be the one to start with, since (as you point out), it's considered one of his lesser achievements. Still, it sounds thoroughly absorbing and
wonderfully written. A few things that struck me about your review:
"People talk and talk. Yet they don't communicate."
This is what I see happening every day. It reminds me of a quote from
Ramon Perez De Ayala's Belarmino and Apolonio:
"The world is like a great market filled with deaf people trying to carry on their business. Everybody is shouting and there's a horrendous racket. But
because people don't listen to each other, nothing gets done."
I like the point you make about the metaphorical connection between the house being a "patchwork of conceits" and the story being full of "trickery and subterfuge." Indeed, it sounds like Gaddis plays a lot of games with his readers. The fact that Carpenter's Gothic has been called the "most approachable" of Gaddis' books says a great deal about the rest of his work. His approach to dialogue sounds interesting. The fact that we can almost hear the characters speaking shows that Gaddis certainly does have a masterful control over the power of language. Considering the fact that so many writers' dialogue seems stilted, stiff, and labored, Gaddis' effortlessness in this realm must be refreshing.
It's interesting to note that Gaddis spoke in interviews of the influence that Samuel Butler, Evelyn Waugh, and Ronald Firbank had upon his work.
Having read two of his novels, are there any writers from the past that you feel might have influenced his work?
Also, I notice that Gaddis has been compared to both Joyce and Pynchon. Are these viable comparisons, Mirabell? Or would you say that Gaddis' creative voice is too individualistic to compare to that of any other author?
Congrats on a brilliant review, by the way. Keep them coming...
s*: Fittings: William Gaddis? ?Carpenter?s Gothic? (http://shigekuni.blogspot.com/2009/01/fittings-william-gaddis-carpenters.html)
Now, I'm off to read JR.
Here's a considerably better -and older- review, btw., by the magnificent Cynthia Ozick:
Gaddis Annotations - Carpenter's Gothic - review - Cynthia Ozick (http://www.williamgaddis.org/gothic/gothicrevozicknyt.shtml)
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.