Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Radical Love, Indeed!

I just finished reading RADICAL LOVE, a newly published collection of five previous novels by Fanny Howe. Nightboat Books must be credited with one of the finest publications of the past several years. Fanny Howe is known mainly as a poet but, as she writes in the introduction, "I hope this collection will contribute to a literary tradition that resists distinctions between poetry and fiction as one way to save history from the doom of duality..." The five novels (all for just $20!) are NOD, THE DEEP NORTH, FAMOUS QUESTIONS, SAVING HISTORY, and INDIVISIBLE. Each is a modern classic, exploring the layers and landscapes of class, religion, and race. If these issues seem overdetermined or uninteresting, you've buried your faces in too much critical theory or are bracingly indifferent to their centrality, how fiction can imbue their natures into startingly new and truthful visions and versions. I'd recommnend that everyone use their last twenty-dollar bill to acquire this treasure. To relate too much of the content would be unethical. And if you need any other Fanny Howe recommendations, I would happily reply: "Read all of her work, read all of her." Her poetry, fictions, including short stories, and essays are all necessary reading. She is lauded as a great writer; such praise is damningly faint, indeed. She is one of the greatest. Although I can be charitable in my praise, rarely do I reach the pinnacles of hyperbole. But there I find myself now, waving you like an air-traffic controller towards the flight path of HoweLand. curley