Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review: Dhalgren

Dhalgren, Samuel DeLaney
12.8.10 - 1.6.11

Checked this book out of the library the day I turned in my very last college assignment (Senior Seminar paper on Liberalism and Scott's Politics of the Veil, ahem, not that it matters). What I loved was the introduction someone else wrote about it--comparing the city in the story to the Hippie movement in the sixties. How not everyone went there, but of those who did, very few (some say none) ever return.

The book made me think a lot about House of Leaves, and Dhalgren is definitely on my reread list. I looked for a used copy and the bookstore owner told me it was one of those books--many start, few finish. I want to tell him I finished, but (one) it feels like inappropriate bragging and (two) he wouldn't remember me anyway.

I had to buy the book new.

The writing itself struck me as very powerful. I know I'm naturally an escapist who loves to lose herself in literature, but this book captured me forcibly, whether I wanted to be or not. I remember reading it in my standard little coffee shop and afterward walking down the street to work, and looking at the sky. It was odd to have to remind myself that I don't live in an anarchist, post-apocalyptic, abandoned city. The writing was fluid enough to make me occasionally forget what was actually reality.

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