Thursday, 3 September 2009

Adam Thirlwell reviewed in FT by RTK

My write-up of the second (or is it third?) novel from Granta-endorsed wunderkind Adam Thirlwell appeared in the print edition of last weekend's Financial Times, and was duly posted online come the Sunday.
As I say in the piece, The Escape is a work unabashedly inspired by other works from great writers of days gone by. "There’s nothing wrong with that, though the degree of pleasure one takes from Thirlwell’s text might depend on one’s fondness for his source materials..."
I go on to thumbnail the book like so: "The Escape has been warmly endorsed by Milan Kundera and it’s recognisably a work in the Czech writer’s wry, pontificating manner, whereby the wise, wistful author invites us to look at a scene and then look at it again, so that its seeming sadness or silliness reveals yet another level of meaning. Thirlwell makes frequent use of the exclamation mark, usually a misplaced attempt to sound jolly, but this he dubs “the European vocative”, a manner fit for “addressing absent abstractions”. It’s ideally suited to this example of the Euro-erotic novel. One could go further and class The Escape as a “Jewish psychological sex novel of the absurd”, which is the thumbnail description Time magazine gave Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint in 1969..."

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