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Wish I'd written it

Here's Laura Jacobs in Vanity Fair, writing about the novelist Mary McCarthy's scandalous 1963 novel, The Group:

Setting aside the fact that McCarthy could be quite theatrical when reading her work before an audience, there is a distinctly narrated, documentary-voice-over quality to her fiction, as if her tales came straight from her head—eyes, ears, brain, mouth—without ever having traveled through her heart. (emphasis mine.)

That's not a put-down. That's the verbal equivalent of a Mob hit.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 7th, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
And I wish I'd written your last paragraph. Nicely put.
Jul. 7th, 2013 04:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Carole. That piece was well written: It had to be, because I didn't know doink about McCarthy until I read it.

Jul. 7th, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
Wow - right between the eyes. Nice analogy, pjv. That's how I've always felt about Joyce Carole Oates' writing, and why I think I'm the only WNYer (she's from around here somewhere) who doesn't pretend to be smitten with her work. Blech.
Jul. 7th, 2013 07:08 pm (UTC)
I can't remember if I read her and didn't like her, or haven't read her at all. I'm thinking the first choice is true; if so, I was less than whelmed.
Jul. 8th, 2013 10:37 pm (UTC)
I read "The Group" after having scene a snippet of the 1965 movie in which Candice Bergen made her first film appearance. The following year she was in "The Sand Pebbles" with Steve McQueen and, as a young man, I thought she was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. Not exactly the best reason to read the book, but that's nonetheless what had led me to what many term a "woman's book".

I don't remember anything about the book's plot other than it had a lot of sex in it, and that's all it needed to keep my attention. I do remember, however, that Ms. McCarthy's prose was well chosen and effortless. And, I do remember seeing her on the talk shows of the time -- Cavett, etc. -- as she was a drama critic and moved well through NY society where back stabbing is an art.

Jul. 9th, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
To remember her prose as "well chosen and effortless" so many years later says a lot about your memory and even more about your writing. The greats make it look easy, but as Thomas Mann once said, "A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people."
Jul. 15th, 2013 03:55 pm (UTC)
Ouch. I actually do like JCO, but not because she's from around these parts. That's a tale for a different day, but I don't know doink about McCarthy either. Inspired to check her out now, just to see if she deserved the jab.
Jul. 15th, 2013 08:28 pm (UTC)
"Doink" is one of the best words in English.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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Wish I'd Said It

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