Sunday, October 24, 2010

A handsome dish-shaped face

My review of James Howard Kunstler's The Witch of Hebron is up at the L.A. Times. I wound up enjoying this novel quite a bit, but some of it was tough going:

"The Witch of Hebron" is a sequel to Kunstler's 2008 novel, the evocatively titled "World Made by Hand," and it shares that earlier book's Hudson Valley setting and many of its characters. Kunstler ties up some loose ends here, but these leftovers are the weakest thing about "The Witch of Hebron." The book's initial weakness could also be a matter of a rough transition from "World's" first-person viewpoint (that of Robert Earle, here a relatively minor presence) to a fitfully omniscient third-person perspective. My favorite bad sentence is "She had a handsome dish-shaped face with very large, questioning eyes," though "Minutes later, he was in the central chamber of the new construction that had filled the courtyard between the two wings of the U-shaped modernistic high school" has its own exquisite dreadfulness.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

God I hated that earlier novel. Seemed like an exercise in wiping out the social progress of the last 200 years in this country and reversion to an earlier "idyll" of Kunstler's own design. What a bad taste it left in my head.

8:41 PM  

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