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The Tunnel by William H. Gass

The Tunnel (1995)

by William H. Gass

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621723,176 (4.16)76

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This took me a while to read. Really, it's the first 300 pages that are the hardest. This book has no 'plot', per say, at least nothing linear. The first 300 pages are erratic and essentially assume you already know all of the characters and events that Kholer will reference, which makes it super hard to disentangle what-exactly-the-fuck-is-going-on.
This link is insanely useful. I would actually recommend reading it before reading the book, to make it more like a re-reading, than a first time re-through.
The actual experience of reading this book is difficult and at times boring. Yes there are moments of clarity and beauty, but more often than not disgust and bigotry. I think it is supposed to be that way, but it still doesn't make it a joy to read. The book is possibly a masterpiece, 5/5, but reading it feels more like a 3/5. So I'm averaging for my rating.
The most I took away from this book was the connection of Kholer and his resentment with other people throughout history that have felt resentment and enacted revenge. Except Kholer only goes as far as killing his wife's cat and filling her antique drawers with dirt (he loves his double entendres here. Kholer reminds me of the the angry people of 4chan (gamergate), white rural U.S., Trump supports, etc. It's terrifying, being in Kholer's mind.
I think I have more to add... but... can't seem to put it together right now. What a ride. Good luck to you if you choose to read this. ( )
1 vote weberam2 | Nov 24, 2017 |
Amazing. It takes the arc of modern history and the tip of the holocaust to see if we can still offer context and meaning to the traumas of our childhood. ( )
  DavidCLDriedger | Apr 22, 2015 |
... and a half.

"The muses do not look below the moon, nor we, now much above it; but there may be fallen angels of artistic bent and interest might hearken if we cried out in the right direction, briskly beat upon the plumbing hill, from some deep distance, tunes returned, and we could rhyme again, or a least curse with relish and a remnant of conviction. There must be muses of malfeasance and misuse who bring our our vulgar verses like a sickness, inspire our musicals and movie scripts, our lying adverts and political bios, thundering the tongue about in its mouth like a storm on a stage. Yes ... dwelling in our sewers and dumps, squalid divinities surely do remain to encourage the profanation of the absent gods."
( )
  lawrenh | May 14, 2014 |
This is another one of those beasts that I'll have to put off until I'm ready. So much intertext and diagrams and metafiction. I can really enjoy this one, I can tell from the marvelous prose. But I'll have to wait and learn some more.
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
a tortuous work of genius ( )
  nadiart | Aug 13, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679437673, Hardcover)

A strange and monumental novel that took William Gass three decades to write. When a Midwestern historian sits down to write the introduction to his magnum opus study of the Third Reich, he instead writes a chaotic, obscure and labrynthine exploration of his personal history. Then he begins digging a tunnel from the basement of his house. The writing, the digging, and the reader's reading blend into one profound meditation on history, evil, the living and the dead. PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:52 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

After completing the manuscript of a book entitled The Guilt and Innocence of Hitler's Germany, a famous historian who teaches at a university sits down to write the introduction. But instead he finds himself writing on the guilt and innocence of his own life. A look at the craft of resurrecting the past by the author of In the Heart of the Heart of the Country.… (more)

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