Propitiated Reading


What I as a young enthusiast took for pell-mell freedom and chaos is in fact the result of careful orchestration and staging, within individual stories and in terms of the collection as a whole. This doesn’t mean the work is without its excesses—or that it doesn’t, at times, scan to me as self-indulgent, repetitive, inscrutable, etc.—but if you had asked me, before I revisited this book, why I no longer read Vollmann, I would have phrased my answer in terms of losing my tolerance for a certain kind of sloppiness; but now, having had my reunion, I must say that my complaints about Vollmann are not to be phrased in terms of his qualities as a writer but rather in terms of my taste as a reader.

Over at Electric Literature, Justin Taylor writes about his once-troubled relationship with William T. Vollmann’s writing.

Guia Cortassa was born, lives, and works in Milan, Italy. After working as a Contemporary Art curator, she went back to writing. She is a contributing editor for Ondarock and her writing has appeared on Rivista Studio, Flair and the Quietus. She compulsively tweets @gcmorvern. More from this author →