For months now I’ve been tuning in to WGAR 99.5, Cleveland’s Hit Country Music Station, and recently I did a little experiment: I turned on the radio and decided to listen until one song, any song, was repeated.
In the book, stories are, of necessity, told in a linear way; one thing is narrated, then another. In the immersive text I don’t have that constraint, and multiple storylines can happen in parallel, inviting the reader to choose between them.
Lerner’s greatest gift as a writer is his ability to wax philosophical without sounding cloyingly cerebral. While Adam is drifting through Spain writing, lying, obsessing, confessing, capsizing, and smoking lots of hash, Lerner is busy implicitly inquiring into real life’s ability to live up to the vast and gorgeous possibilities language can engender in the imagination.
“Just ‘writer’ suits me fine. It’s not my fault if people come to my novels with such clichéd and parochial expectations of what a novel should be and do — how it should behave — that they find mine failing at something they never even aspired to.”
I believe my best work is compelled to appear by a combination of rigor and deliberate passage. By deliberate passage, I mean writing the right thing the first time. Your life should present you with the words you need. The writing process (for me) is not loose or messy. It must be sharp and clear.
It’s a wonderful deception, and in turns sly and elegant, with language that is delicate without being florid, Cunningham transforms what appears to be a book about painters and curators into a treatise on the wingspan of the young and the disappointment of the aging.