Thursday, 20 January 2011

BLUE ANGEL by Francine Prose


I have never come upon a piece of literary criticism that addressed the likeability of the author. Or do I mean the narrative voice? As with Jane Austen, there is a sense, reading this book, of being very much in cahoots with the author. Prose is authoritative (you feel in safe hands), witty and compassionate, but like Austen she does not suffer fools gladly. This is a campus novel with a horribly well-realised monster at its heart, and a thoroughly believable innocent as its victim.

But "don't assume the soul is the writer's" is one of the messages of the book. Demons can make great art. The monster in this book devours the world around her. She is a writer, a novelist. Everything is grist to her mill.

A funny, horrifying, seditious, clever book. I knew by about page 15 that I would regret finishing it. Very highly recommended.

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