October Light

October Light by John Gardner

A thoroughly enjoyable novel from John Gardner, who  I was familiar with through his terrific version of Grendel, and On Moral Fiction, his popular book on fiction writing.

An aging brother and sister quarrel and she locks herself in her room, and reads a strange novel, big chunks of which are scattered throughout the book.  A  novel-within-a-novel approach, and it works. A little pedantic, though; I get a sense of smug-author-ness, too, in the way the book is put together. The author seems to look down on his characters a little.

Gardner was known as a fairly feisty lit critic and teacher. He was Raymond Carver’s writing teacher. He knows fiction and it shows in this book. I picked up a copy of The Sunlight Dialogues when I got October Light, It looks good too. Grade: B.


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