Scott McLemee reviewed William T. Vollmann’s Rising Up and Rising Down in this week’s New York Times Book Review. His was a review I embraced immediately, not least because it affirmed my decision to pass up Vollmann’s latest, multi-volume offering.
I mean, I’ve read 3400 pages of Marcel Proust and might do it again, but I just can’t imagine going that distance with Vollmann.
In some kind of world’s record for blurbing speed — and certainly for blurbing chutzpah — the following extract has already appeared at the page on Rising Up and Rising Down at Powell’s (in ordinary circumstances one of my favorite booksellers):
“A strange book….It is rigorous, like Euclidean geometry, yet twisty, like a pretzel.” Scott McLemee, The New York Times Book Review
It would be interesting to know how this deft use of ellipsis came to pass. Anyone wishing to blurb the book in the future is invited to consider, as an alternative, this more representative quotation:
“Appreciation of Rising Up and Rising Down’ properly begins — and will, for most people, immediately end — with awe at its physical presence. Whatever the genre, it is a remarkable example of the book as furniture.”