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ELEVEN MODERN SHORT NOVELS by Richard Wright
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ELEVEN MODERN SHORT NOVELS

by Richard Wright

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These tend towards the bleak and existential, which isn't what I usually look for in novels, but I liked a good deal of these. I found Wright's "The Man who Lived Underground" the best of the lot (a very intense sensory experience addressing racial issues and those of humanity in general with manic intelligence and desperate fire), closely followed by Mann's "Mario and the Magician" (a smashing political allegory), Konrad's classic "Heart of Darkness" and Kafka's classic "Metamorphosis". Camus' "The Stranger" is the weakest (very unconvincing moral discussion). Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo's "Abel Sanchez" kicks itself, that is, fails to deliver the philosophical punch. One thinks, at the end, reading the commentary, "THAT's what he intended?!" Henry James' "Beast in the Jungle" has a very interesting premise to recommend it, but it's far from his best. "The Death of Ivan Illytch" was, I suspect, poorly translated here. It reads very blandly and the climax doesn't make much of a sound. ( )
  madmouth | Apr 26, 2009 |
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