Locus reviews The Bend at the End of the Road

76ee412223ff59f82b7e32b3f1ee1014-w2041xIn an essay as long as those in the book, Russell Letson has reviewed Barry Malzberg’s The Bend at the End of the Road for the June issue of Locus. He says, in part:

“…it is very hard not to argue with Barry Malzberg’s The Bend at the End of the Road—and it was just as hard to stop reading it.

“The Bend at the End of the Road is no more cheerful, though, like the earlier books, it is often strikingly written and shot through with sharp observations of and confrontations with the marginal culture and economic status that has often constrained the field’s (and Malzberg’s) aspirations. It is this merging of the interesting and insightful with the depressive and depressing that makes the collection as exasperating as it is fascinating.

“So what kept me reading these thousand-word lacerations and laments? On the purely literary and historical side, Malzberg has a considerable knowledge of the history of American SF, much of it acquired at first hand from the late 1940s onward, and he has also paid attention to modern literature in general, from the great New York newspaper sports writers to Raymond Carver, Philip Roth, John Cheever, Reynolds Price, and George P. Elliott (his mentor at Syracuse University). Line by line, the writing is dense with allusions from all over the literary-cultural landscape, products of a mind that frantically connects everything to everything. A single page of one essay (“Misunderstanding Entropy”) contains a crescendo of references: nine writers, four composers, four books, two media franchises, plus Donald Trump, Tammany Hall, and ComicCon. Prose like this can be, despite the general atmosphere of futility and disappointing, exhilarating.”

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