Aberration of Starlight (Magill's Literary Annual 1981)
In a recent interview, Gilbert Sorrentino observed thatAs a writer of fiction, it has always seemed to me enormously boring to achieve a style and then continue it forever. Every one of my books is an attempt to solve another fictional problem that I set myself. And one of the ways I solve that problem is by inventing another voice or a group of voices.
This attitude certainly explains the reason for the blizzard of styles, of “voices,” through the novel. What Sorrentino tries to do, like other new novelists, is to make a separate world into which the reader can enter and feel that “in terms of literature,” it is “a reality and that’s all it is.” He wants to create “another world” with the language and the voices he creates. That is, said in another way, he wants to go beyond, even to avoid, the old novel of realism. This is no mean ambition, yet it is shared with a number of other “new fictionists” such as Donald Barthelme, Ronald Sukenick, Robert Coover, John Barth, and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Sorrentino has been weaving layered fabrics of language to create other worlds for some time. He began his career as a poet, publishing five books of poetry, and then moved onto publishing fiction about the time some critics were announcing its “death.” His novels have been The Sky Changes (1966),...
(The entire section is 1854 words.)
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