In the middle of Ronald Gephardt’s new novel is a diagram, a triangle with the words “book,” “writer,” and “reader” in the corners, and arrows in between, to indicate their relationships. This came in a writing cycle that the narrator is the protagonist of the novel night terrors As ever, students had to know where their hearts were. “Why do we write, to whom and what?”
“I hate readers,” one says, “I hate the book,” says the other, and our main character, Dutch writer Peter Jacob Weber, who lives in New York, says, “I hate book.” Where in this triangle does Ronald Gephardt (1965) feel at home? What does he care most about: how does he tell the story in the best possible way, with something personal to him, or how does it move and delight the reader? You might think the latter, considering that Giphart has always been a crowd-favorite – but at the same time he never sat idle, renewed himself so much as a writer, in content (as in beautiful delusion) Seraglio from 2015) and in form (as with the narrative perspective From his last novel All time).
You think you also follow this impulse to innovate night terrors Novel, unusually with the craftsman Giphart, you have no idea where he’s headed for so long. This fits in with the structure: Weber begins to speak; It has a desk job where it manually overloads data overnight [moet] Import and export’, but tonight a noise is heard in the hallway. burglary. So I sit motionless. Email is his only line to the outside world. He locks himself up and does what he apparently does when he’s anxious: distract him by writing, sending emails to his literary agent.
Management night terrors What about burglary? For a moment, Giphart appears to be moving into the thriller genre, but the threat turns out to be primarily a plot device, as the digressions about Weber’s life become more comprehensive. Chatting, delving into his youth – is the novel about his self-reflection? The signs aren’t immediately green for that either: there’s immediately something extractive and distant in the narrator’s tone, in his growing English and complacency.
This ambiguity is not immediately convincing: it is hard to believe that Webber was so terrified of the burglary, and in the meantime, sitting unimpeded in the talking chair. Surprisingly, his fear does not hinder this, and this objection cannot be completely dispelled by the idea behind him that “writing is soothing and distracting.” After all: “In the realm of my own mission, no one can touch me,” Webber notes at one point.
That rebellious talent ensures that one of Giphart’s most attractive aspects, the sly side with delicious stories, is in night terrors It also blooms. The episode about how Weber ended up in the States is fun, the unfortunate depiction of his only son is funny, and the descriptions of Weber’s father and his mother’s affairs are interesting too. But what’s annoying, as Weber himself points out, is “I start too much and finish little”—that there is so little coherence. Perhaps appropriate, because this story should ultimately represent a chain of emails, fresh from the liver. However, the very loose cohesion of the story elements seems more like a flaw than a credit to Giphart.
This is mainly due to the climax, which Gephardt celebrated. There had to be a reason to urge the distracted Weber to write, you can feel that as a reader, and also for his complacency. Something he tried to avoid, or hardly hid himself: “I write to calm myself, to take my mind off my inevitable exposure.” When that mask finally comes off, it turns out there’s a painful history behind it that completely throws the novel out of balance. I won’t spoil what this “topic” is, but if there is a secret that can be found in a very bad book, it is the nuclear option, which sucks all the oxygen from space. The succinct way in which Giphart invokes this topic does not seem to take it seriously at all, and thus appears to be a pursuit of influence or a matter of weakness.
What does Giphart care about most? With the novel book? OK: This looseness can be defended because of the post’s structure, but a slightly more tangled, slightly more psychological construction would have been better here (without necessarily losing the looseness suggestion, say, I think for example his job window, key by Robert Willagin).
with himself? In an interview with stentor Recently told Giphart, also quite succinct, about his personal experience with the precarious subject. Was talking about it per se more important than how to talk about it?
Also read this interview with Giphart: So don’t believe in your own image.
In Weber’s writing course, a book-writer-reader discussion was followed by a writing assignment that left out thinking: “The motto: Don’t think, write. Make scales. Don’t worry about the end result, just ram, go on, give it all. Giphart seems to be in night terrors I would have done. If only he was a little more interested in the person who would read the end result.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on November 12, 2021
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of November 12, 2021
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