Make a splash with the coach, his search for regional or even national attention. McElroy's style - the character's dialogue and their inner thoughts - is a style unto itself. McElroy is so elusive here--and so goddamn breathtaking--that I would be doing both him and Cannonball a major disservice by trying to tear the thing apart. For all its frenetic pacing, Cannonball never feels rushed; there is no hurry to get to the next stop but there are a controlled urgency for understanding and a need for some sense of correlation between seemingly unrelated events that drive the narration. It is very interesting, but not necessarily enjoyable.
A day later, one of those bookish Instagramers I follow, mentioned McElroy was easier to read aloud. All of the above aside. But Cannonball feels too much like a period piece from the '70s for me to feel like I'll ever want to re-read it. As time passed and more information came to light, the rationale became more and more obfuscated, and as such the conversation changed. If you read too slowly you don't fit the thoughts together fast enough and one thought references another you passed a while ago. The construction of knowledge by people together could be, provided that the people doing the constructing recognize what they're doing, and work together as best they can. Well, not sure I'll try to main course.
McElroy is a first-class magician using a linguistic sleight of hand to keep us from ever seeing the whole truth even when it is right in front of our noses, only revealing what he wants us to see and doing so only when it is absolutely necessary. I give this novel two attempts, maybe I'm the wrong reader for it, my bookshelf says otherwise. Several of the characters who play significant roles in Zach's life possess the kinds of talents that tend to forgive--nay, willfully gloss over--the perfectly natural failures of character that aren't exactly negated by finely honed skills. A massive kid with a sylph's moves, spunky and speaking a broken English that dovetails with the anti-grammar of the narrative voice, this character would be, in another sort of book, its greatest invention. My sister even when she was younger what came before.
It reminded me of someone trying to focus a camera lens until it finally reached some sort of stability towards the end. Laudable for its brio alone, Cannonball marries adolescent fumbling to Orwellian nightmare, while developing a deliciously wicked fantasy out of our country's Iraq misadventure. A real, and likely wonderful review by the one, the only coreader Spenkerz should follow in the near future; talking this one over with him, albeit briefly, while reading made it even more fun. Or, replace those five unfilled-in stars with a. The writer gives the reader what she thinks is important; the reader sees what she can make of what the writer has given her. And art can be one of the better examples of working together.
You would be excused if you thought the title of Joseph McElroy's sort-of-an-Iraq-war-novel were named explicitly for a weapon of oldschool combat. Two or three passes are frequently needed to see all the fibers and wires leading to the pyro he has packed in. Reading it was frustrating for very straightforward reasons: the plot is simple and fun, the emotional energy behind it clear, the larger issues about military adventure and the perversion of religion obvious and im I knew very little about McElroy before I started this book; I picked it up because it was short and his name occasionally comes up in discussions of, e. It is impossible to talk about a McElroy novel without talking about sentences. Umo, about the same age as Zach, is an unschooled homeless illegal immigrant odd-jobber from somewhere in China or Mongolia who seems to know everything important. The same is true of the plot progression, with McElroy circling around like a diver, twisting, doubling back, and cascading down in an artfully amazing display of talent that keeps the reader wondering where they are headed and which end is up, yet always trusting that McElroy will guide them as they strive to play along and be the best reader they can be.
Maybe this is a personal fault - my experience reading Gravity's Rainbow was similar. He has a more obsessive focus on the eddies and currents of human thought and consciousness. The Iraq War, two divers, a California family, and within that family an intimacy that open the larger stories more deeply still. For, like Gertrude Stein and Samuel Beckett, no one writes sentences like Joseph McElroy; and just like Stein and Beckett, the sentences are what matter most. Political parties were divided—the nation was divided. McElroy was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1930. Zach had been both a swimmer and a diver until an accident, when he had been interrupted by a shout from his father during a mildly complicated dive, and he gave up diving.
He does not adhere to the rules, but wields his mighty pen with such awe-inspiring finesse that the rules bow down and adhere to him, creating an impressive fluidity to his prose where each line is expressed in the exact way necessary to do justice to the weighty load of meaning that he desires to extract from the depths of literature. Reading Cannonball any slower is like listening to a bebop song at reduced speed. A little amuse-bouche before I try the main course, kind of thing. I felt distracted, un For this novel I feel one could legitimately justify any rating between one and five stars. What if you could let your own lack of understanding grow or let its deficit be balanced with trust? I don't think I had a clue what was going on for the first 120 pages or so, but once Zach lands in Kut, lands in war, the story rolled down hill picking up pace and clarity.
Now, if McElroy was telling me something difficult or new, I'd be fine with the convoluted sentences: sometimes it's hard to express difficult, new things. Cannonball continues in McElroy's tradition of intricately woven story lines and extreme care regarding the placement of each and every word. You go at the temp of his prose, which is thought-tempo rather than speech-tempo. He served in the Coast Guard from 1952—4, and then returned to Columbia to complete his Ph. Reading them is a blessing.
For me personally, there was something about the cadence of the narrative voice that made it difficult for me to fall into a natural flow. Mongolian Lazarus, a cough 'close' brother-sister relationship, and a semi-oblique Sla You'd think that writing a review about an autotrophic, disembodied brain orbiting the Earth would be harder than one involving a pretty linear narrative revolving around the second Iraq War. For me personally, there was something about the cadence of the narrative voice that made it difficult for me to fall into a natural flow. The dive, its execution some say an infinite series of instants each bringing you somewhere as if you were stopped. The pool I have no interest in diving into any longer, because it's not a pool so much as a jigsaw puzzle, each word a piece and I dived too fast, both times, the words were at times uplifting, beautiful, horrifying, but never connected to anything tangible.
Umo often about things asked what happened after. One of my close friends was in that class with me, he served in Iraq just a few short years later , I was enthralled and moved to read a book featuring a character about my age undergoing his own coming-of-age during the same time period as my own juvenile floundering. I should cease gushing and get back to the book at hand. He served in the Coast Guard from 1952 to 1954, and then returned to Columbia to complete his in 1961. This may require stepping out of usual comfort zones and taking his hand as you leap into the abyss, but McElroy is the hand you should be holding for this sort of leap, a hand that you can trust will see you through and that together you will witness the glorious sights along the way. Joe has only gained new steps over the years, seemingly unable to lose any report of his whip-crack intelligence. McElroy is an author that strikes me as deserving far more fame than he's given.