Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Wednesday, 5 August 1998

"four last things" by William Palmer (Secker & Warburg, 1996)

Lots of snow. Interesting to contrast this book with Kennedy's. Palmer has more the eyes of a novelist. We learn of people largely through the author's language. We read their actions and spoken words. The characters don't express their own thoughts. Yet in stories like "The Equilibrist" the first page or 2 still manage to give us a good portrait of the main character, and the madman in "Are You Coming to Jerusalem" is striking because he's described by the sane. Palmer's vantage point lets him portray characters interacting, something that's missing from "Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains".

On the downside, the title story is loose structurally (the parts too long for the framing device) and some of the stories don't know how to finish. Overall though, I prefer this to Kennedy's collection.

No comments:

Post a Comment