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Geoff Wyss

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Member: GeoffWyss

CollectionsYour library (227), Currently reading (2), To read (2), All collections (227)

Reviews17 reviews

Tagsophthalmology (1), bombay (1), india (1) — see all tags

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About meGeoff Wyss’s first novel, 'Tiny Clubs,' was published 2007. Wyss’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in 'New Stories from the South' 2006 and 2009, 'Tin House,' 'Glimmer Train,' 'Image,' and others. Wyss lives in New Orleans.

GroupsAsian Fiction & Non-Fiction, Literary Snobs

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Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/GeoffWyss (profile)
/catalog/GeoffWyss (library)

Member sinceMar 31, 2009

Currently readingIf The Sky Falls (Yellow Shoe Fiction Series) by Nicholas Montemarano
Recovering From Mortality: Essays From A Cancer Limbo Time by Deborah Cumming

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Regarding THE ORPHAN MASTER'S SON,it was difficult to read such choppy writing. As a result, I thought throughout that I was missing something.

I know for sure that Pac Jun Do is a master liar. But I couldn't tell for a long time whether he was a good guy or a bad guy. The reason he goes with the North Korean officials to the U.S. is never clearly sated. He doesn't seem sure himself.

In my opinion, someone did some great marketing of this book and put out there some stupendous reader reviews that really sold the book to a lot of readers who believed them. In reality, it's difficult to follow. It is hard to tell if description is imagined or true. The writing is clumsy. First Jun Do is here, then he's there, then you can't tell where the heck he is. Too much is left unsaid, left to the reader's imagination.

Well it looks like the html code for embedding a link doesn't work in these comments. Here's the url for the essay on The Loser.
Apologies for the tardy response.

I too allow the least concrete of reasons to prejudice me against some authors. And while Ozick occasionally comes off as stringent in her criticism and essays (still not a fatal flaw) it is her fiction upon which her reputation rests. Her short stories are magnificent - in terms of craft I'd propose she approaches Welty or O'Connor - but I still prefer her novels. I've yet to read her most commonly read novels, but would heartily recommend "The Cannibal Galaxy". In sensibility it is similar to the work of Sebald, Bellow or John Berger.

You wrote: "His darkness isn't as measured and equanimous as Sebald's." Well put! You're right to point out the significant differences between Bernhard and Sebald/Cole, yet Bernhard's influence on Sebald is so clear that it's easy to fall into the trap of equating influence with style.

If you've finished reading The Loser, there's a review essay of it by Douglas Glover over at the Brooklyn Rail site you may find interesting.


It's been about ten days since I finished Cole's Open City. Looking back over my notes I'm struck at how often the name Sebald appears. I don't think it a criticism to acknowledge Cole's debts and influences, but I did find it distracting - calling Sebald's work to mind as an unfair point of comparison. The greatest challenge for me, then, was to not judge Open City against Austerlitz or The Rings of Saturn.

It would have been easier for me to unreservedly and immediately love Cole's novel if the references were less apparent, but even with its many debts to Sebald, I was thoroughly impressed with Open City.

In the world of Classical music, much is made of lineages: "My teacher studied with so-and-so, who was a student of so-and-so" leading back to a renowned soloist, composer or conductor. Considering the importance of this music to Cole's narrator, I enjoyed the literary lineages that occasionally popped up. From Bernhard to Sebald, from Sebald to Cole. Whether intended or not, they encourage me to read more of Bernhard. Who knows what new influences I'll see in the others once I've read more of the Austrian.

Thank-you for the recommendation.

May I return the favour? Are you familiar with Cynthia Ozick's writing?
As letters go, that one was pretty damning. I can't think of many authors who've been accused of selling their talent to the powers-that-be.

The only Capote I've read is one of his stories, called Children on Their Birthdays, which I liked. I made a note to read more by him someday and I'm not sure if Burroughs' vitriol put me off or made me even more curious. I don't suppose you've read In Cold Blood?

Thanks again for passing it along. I found it entertaining, though I kind of hope Capote never received it. What a dressing down that would have been...
Geoff: it's his short stories that really highlight Ballard's genius. Some of his longer efforts, like DAY OF CREATION, frankly bored me. But the short stuff--zowie!
I had tried several times to read it and I just couldn't give it the proper reading it deserves so I re-gifted it to a librarything member on member's giveaway with the stipulation that they read it and post a review. I thank you very much for the book and apologize that I didn't get it read. Thanks!
I have not had time to read it I will be reading it soon though, my company is going through a merger right now, so I have been rather busy, I am expecting to read it over Christmas.
Hey--Just had to let you know that I'm 30 pages in to Tiny Clubs and I am spellbound! Loving it!
Geoff: I sent up Cormac McCarthy a number of years ago in a short story called "Strays"--you'll find it if you have a poke around on my blog (look under "Stories" and scroll down, it's there). The story caused a stink at a Canadian SF magazine because some editors perceived it as a sexist piece--Peter Watts, to his credit, came to the story's defense and tells the behind the scenes account on his blog.

Just to clarify, I LOVE McCarthy but "Strays" gave me the opportunity to take the piss out of one of my literary heroes and I couldn't resist.
Hey Geoff! Actually I'm already a COO for a family of several companies. So I'm pretty secure. This is my next big project - check out the site. The Chicago White Sox are bringing a farm team to Normal and we're starting up a baseball league for kids with disabilities. There will also be a wheelchair accessible playground next to it. Jim Thome and Bill Murray are on board right now - as well as everyone here. I guess being picked last had an affect on me after all. LOL.
As far as Steinbeck, I can see your point. But like I said, your book is beautiful on its own merit. I could only grasp for the closest comparison.
2nd masters is in music - I work with the Koch Studio at Illinois State as a lyricist and mezzo -soprano. In my spare time - not quitting my day job!
My son, Connor, studies violin with them too. I'm very proud - he had his first concert - Beethoven's Ode to Joy.
I have a myspace and facebook page for friends under Holly Green. I got divorced and there was NO WAY I was returning to Griswold-dom. So I took my mom's maiden name. It's weird, just this last month, I've talked to PJ Adair, Dave Goeken and Melissa Sherlock!
I know you're probably short on time, but you can find me at I won't stalk you - but I am definitely a fan. And I like thinking that I took a writing class with someone who could write such a contemplative gem. Thanks again!

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