William, no! It’s only one bad review!

bill_gun.jpgThe Village Voice‘s Sterling Clover bravely ignores the fact that William T. Vollmann is armed to the teeth and delivers a very nasty (and very Snarkwatch-worthy) critical beat down to the author’s 3,298-page epic Rising Up and Rising Down:

This is the sort of book that doesn’t really exist, but only gets used as a gag in other books. But Rising Up is maddeningly real, at its worst the world’s most erudite dorm-room bullshit session given the Cicero treatment and weighed down by numbing cynicism toward belief and hope of all sorts, naive tossing-about of the “social contract,” irritating misuse of the concept of reification, and an epistemological nightmare of means and ends.

(For those among us who can only stand to read the book reviews in People, Clover is giving Vollmann a D-minus.)
Let’s hope this doesn’t turn into one of those New York Review of Books Letters Page feuds that makes all parties come off like Pro Wrestlers.

One reply on “William, no! It’s only one bad review!”

Hm, v dense review, but on my reading, it’s more like an A- than a D-. I don’t think it’s a bad review at all. He praises the book as “tightly structured, full of satisfying closures of themes”, and says it’s nearly always at its best — both impressive achievements for a book of more than 3,000 pages.

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