The Annunciation as an act of conceptual violence. But damned are they who project their mad fantasies upon others! Jun 27, Forrest Gander rated it it was amazing. Books have been described as roller coasters before, but none so aptly as this one. For one thing, for the first several hundred pages, it's just one crank after another. Then comes the visceral, half-sickening thrill, the swooping dive into pure pandemonium. Towards the end, there's a hairpin turn-- suddenly we're reading a fiction about the fiction we've read.
And then, on the last page, we pop through into another dimension. It's a brilliant cultural and political indictment served up in appa Books have been described as roller coasters before, but none so aptly as this one. It's a brilliant cultural and political indictment served up in appallingly hilarious American vernacular-- spoken by those cranks mentioned earlier-- for which no one has a better ear than Coover. The sentences are often so high strung you want to swing on them twice, but we're used to that with Coover.
With The Brunist Day of Wrath, the truly incredible thing is the structure. Yes, yes, the end meets the beginning, that too, but it's the orchestration of so many voices that is the most remarkable achievement! The Canterbury Tales was a warm-up for Coover's cantankerous, confused, rapturous pilgrims, and come to think of it, Coover may be our postmodern Chaucer. Mar 25, James Murphy rated it it was amazing. Robert Coover's first novel, The Origin of the Brunists, was published in It concerns itself with a doomsday cult centered around the lone survivor of a coal mine accident in the American midwest.
The inspiration was a mine disaster in Carbondale, Illinois. After successes with his early novels, Coover turned to the metafictions and experimental novels for which he's most widely known. The Brunist Day of Wrath is a sequel to the first novel. It takes place five years after the apocaly Robert Coover's first novel, The Origin of the Brunists, was published in It takes place five years after the apocalyptic events attending the Brunist rise as a cult, and it chronicles an apocalypse of its own. The novel marks a return to Coover's original style of satirical naturalism.
He still has the knack. One of Coover's major themes in his long career has been religion and its relationship with myth. The novel is about fundamentalism, evangelism, and Pentecostal millenarianism. His satirical voice is critical of such movements. The character Sally Elliott, as atheist, is the voice of reason and understanding and might represent Coover himself since the novel's long afterword is the account of how she wrote the nonfiction novel describing the cult's return to the place of its origins and the second vigil for the end of the world.
At pages, this is a huge novel. It's populated by a huge, cacophonous crowd of characters, too. In the "Epilogue," when Sally Elliott's writing her novel, Coover himself writes, "Putting characters in was not what was hard, she realized. It was keeping them out. They and their homespun language make for a raucous populism. They even sing songs, their lyrics spatter the novel.
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A character list would have been helpful. A shorter novel might have made sense, but his story filled every one of its pages without my being aware of padding. Trimming might have been most useful in the page "Epilogue" detailing how Sally Elliott wrote her novel.
- The Brunist Day of Wrath!
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But I thought this, rather than being excessive, was Coover nodding toward the construction of The Brunist Day of Wrath and therefore nodding toward his own affinity for metafiction. Whether or not it's too long, I finally thought it quite an achievement. Apr 14, Justin Evans rated it liked it Shelves: What, exactly, should we make of a thousand page long realist novel, the main point of which seems to be the undercutting of the realist novel and religious belief--the kind of belief that the narrative voice would have us associate with the realist novel?
It could be that this is the start of something new. Wesley, who is either possessed by Jesus or mad, thinks to himself "this is not merely a post-Christian or post-historical world, as some of those people you've been reading say, it is a pos What, exactly, should we make of a thousand page long realist novel, the main point of which seems to be the undercutting of the realist novel and religious belief--the kind of belief that the narrative voice would have us associate with the realist novel?
Wesley, who is either possessed by Jesus or mad, thinks to himself "this is not merely a post-Christian or post-historical world, as some of those people you've been reading say, it is a post-world world," The truth that this new Jesus brings is: Our actions are nothing more than the mechanical rituals of the mindless dead. This is the truth. Go forth and prophesy," An invisible form calling out for substance. True, it's hard to know how seriously we should take Sally, though. So much of her writing, and thought, is just re-hashed sophomore Theory, in which the individual is always right and any barriers to her free expression of freeness is tyranny.
The madness of 'grand narratives': Lest that little squib escape your notice, Sally later tells Mrs. Filbert that "People are caught up in a dangerously insane story and they don't know how to get out of it. Can they, you know, kill somebody? What's the toll now from all this madness? You might say story has killed them all," And if you doubt the link between religion and realism, Sally is there to point out that "the conventional way of telling stories is itself a kind of religion, you know, a dogmatic belief in a certain type of human perception as the only valid one. Like religious people, conventional writers follow hand-me-down catechisms and look upon the human story through a particular narrow lens The true realists are the lens-breakers, always have been.
The readers, like your average Sunday morning churchgoers, can't keep up with all this, so the innovators who are cutting the real mainstream often go unnoticed in their own time. It's the price they pay. They don't make as much money, but they have more fun," But damned are they who project their mad fantasies upon others," Sally, Jesus and Coover all come to praise the individual genius artist and damn institutions. Thankfully, there is some nuance here. Our implied author acknowledges the similarities between fiction and religion, both modes of life that claim to offer "lies that were truer than truths," that both offer myths, which are "not falsifications of history, but rather a special kind of language for grasping realities beyond time and space," , with the difference being, of course that fiction's truths are truer than the truths of religion, which are simply false.
To pull this claim off, the book needs to perform: It does have a nice story to tell: But sadly, the book doesn't live up to its narrative. BDW is certainly smarter than most of the realist novels you'll read; it is also less entertaining, not substantially better written, and adds little to my life that I wouldn't have gotten from, say Franzen's Freedom--god is dead, the individual is all that matters, live in this world rather than hoping for a better one etc etc So I suspect that BDW is not the beginning of anything; rather, it is the end.
I have a hard time imagining that anybody will ever again produce such a massive attempt to meta-criticize the realist novel. I also have a hard time imagining that I would want to read any such attempt. The time has come to move on from the doctrines, methods and preoccupations of this book, and the writers of Coover's generation. We all know that traditional realism is boring, and bankrupt, and that it will continue to exist because it's kind of enjoyable. Can we do something else, now?
Don't try tracking them in this review, though. How poor he must be, but also, how fun. Dec 04, Geoff marked it as to-read. So I saw this big bastard on the bookshelves at Politics and Prose a couple-three days ago and thought it looked like it oughta come home with me. I didn't pick it up but I'm wondering, should a guy like me have to read the Origin of ThemThere Brunists first to get what's going on in this one?
Or could I just mosey on in? View all 16 comments. Nov 28, Jason rated it it was amazing.
I find myself approaching the middle of December having just completed my tenth Robert Coover book of the year. The process of pursuing this what-I-keep-calling 'Coover completist kick' has led me to the point where I feel compelled to bluntly declare him the greatest of the great.
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While I would still hold William Gaddis to be America's great literary giant, he k I find myself approaching the middle of December having just completed my tenth Robert Coover book of the year. Having now read all of his books save one, and having read so many in such close proximity to one another, I feel I have an appreciation of Coover right now that simply dwarfs any expansive-wise appreciation I have ever had for any other writer of fiction. Many comment on the fundamentally 'realist' nature of the Brunist novels, a designation which I find reductive not to say repugnant.
Reality is a leviathan, to say that the conventional novel essentially born - or at least perfected - in the 19th century somehow provides some mimesis of reality is absurd. That being said, the Brunist novels do demonstrate an atypical for Coover fidelity to the traditional 19th-century-perfected novel. They are mammoth and virtuosic achievements in the realms of plotting and characterization. They are inarguably among the most un-put-downable texts I have ever encountered.
It is a magnificent network novel culminating in staggering, orgiastic, polyphonic mayhem. Ultimately the insanity and evangelical mania it castigates and rebukes become not a matter of the incredibly distinct and dynamic individual personages rendered within these pages, but a sickness of the network itself. The way legal culpability becomes addressed in this context ultimately reveals Coover a writer often capable or being raucously, hilariously mean-spirited as a writer of great compassion; an apologist for each fallible one of us, deserving as we are, ultimately, of a reprieve.
May 08, Neil Griffin rated it it was amazing. I'm starting to think that Coover will be known as a canonical author in the decades to come. He's definitely appreciated now, but he is still pushed aside too often when talking about post-WW2 literature. My thought is that his work should be taken as seriously if not more than folks like Updike, Roth, and the other "serious" writers. Actually, fuck it, he beats Updike easily.
This could be the book to truly cement his reputation. THe problem is that I have seen very little marketing or buzz I'm starting to think that Coover will be known as a canonical author in the decades to come. THe problem is that I have seen very little marketing or buzz about this, which is pretty disheartening. This is a book that runs circles around a lot of the mass-fiction books out there that sell millions of copies.
It beats them at their own game while also being extremely well-written and having something intelligent to say about religion and the damage it does. This book is particularly relevant during this time of religious warfare in the world and shows how this plays out using West Condon, a generic midwestern city circa , as a microcosm, or microcondon, of this violent impulse.
This book is paced brilliantly, written carefully, and thought provoking. Even though it's a sequel, to his first book written almost half a century ago, I think it should stand up for any body who doesn't want to read the original. It's definitely an interesting book when you compare it to his more playful and genre-breaking fiction and truly shows that he's somebody who could have made a career off a totally different style of fiction than that which he usually practices. Apr 21, University of Chicago Magazine added it Shelves: Despite nearly a half-century gap between the two novels during which Coover wrote 14 other novels, three books of short fiction, and a collection of plays , Wrath is set only five years later.
A critique of religious fundamentalism, the books chronicle the development of the Brunist cult in the fictional Midwest coal town of West Codon. Mar 11, Parker Douglas rated it it was amazing. I liked it better than his first Brunist novel, which I love. Feb 16, Marc rated it liked it Shelves: Sure, this is a sequel to The Origin of the Brunists , but it's not necessary to have read that book first Or rather, you might read that book instead.
It's been more than a decade since I read the first book published and my memory preserves but an outline. But what I remember was a much tighter story with more bite. This novel picks up five years after the last one ended. The shattered remnants of a fundamentalist Christian fringe group calling themselves the Brunists named after a h Sure, this is a sequel to The Origin of the Brunists , but it's not necessary to have read that book first The shattered remnants of a fundamentalist Christian fringe group calling themselves the Brunists named after a half-mad survivor of a mine explosion that decimated smalltown West Condon's psyche and economy in the first book have come back to their spiritual and group "home" for a second try at the "Rapture".
Sympathy For The Dead Necon Modern Horror Book 3
And while it would be easy for a writer like Coover to merely hoist the fundamentalists upon their own petards, he's an equal-opportunity kinda satirist and spares no one. As Coover has aged, his insights have only become keener, but I believe his compassion has grown deeper, as well. Even as he pulls the curtains back to reveal the mechanics that make this foolish facade of a life appear functional, he never lets the reader forget we're all stuck on this same stage and most of our roles have been cast as farce. And on this particular stage, his production requires a full four intermissions.
This book is epic in size just over 1, pgs and scope using West Condon as a kind of window into America's working-class, white soul: His humor and irreverence are in full force: Mencken like "Deep within the Heart of Every Evangelist Lies the Wreck of a Car Salesman", and a motor cycle gang drawing armageddon-plan inspiration from comic books. The pace borders on plodding but performs mostly as a slow burn allowing for everything plus the kitchen sink.
Coover routinely delivers such such bon mots as: He defines himself by it, but it's still a mystery. Like the Holy Spirit. It exists and doesn't exist. You have to take it on faith. If it were more visible, more logical, it might not work. But it's completely irrational. We use numbers to mask that, as the dispensation of grace. A delusion that works.
Stacy's definition of religion. Not his, but he can live with it. That people see money as the very opposite of the Holy Spirit, as something diabolical, also makes sense. Trying to do good with it is mostly a losing proposition. What's happening here in the bank. Or, rather, "good" in finance means something else. The Golden Rule doesn't operate here. Misguided generosity is a kind of wickedness.
Failure to foreclose is an infidelity. But if "good" is not the same thing as the Golden Rule, it's not the opposite either. The system requires exchange to work, and exchange involves give-and-take. Some kind of honor code. I'll believe if you believe, I'll spend if you'll spend.
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It's how we keep ticking along, using up the world. Misers are sinners who constipate the system. To win it all is to lose it all. Sweeping the Monopoly board is like the end of the world; to continue, you have to redistribute and start over. Another Big Bang, so to speak. Expand and contract, expand and contract, the eternal cycle of the universe. Sames as the business cycle. You can't legislate it--there's nothing there to legislate--but you can profit off the swings. If you're a believer. At one point, a young writer in the story says, "The conventional way of telling stories is itself a kind of religion, you know, a dogmatic belief in a certain type of human perception as the only valid one.
Like religious people, conventional writers follow hand-me-down catechisms and look upon the human story through a particular narrow lens, not crafted by them and belonging to generations of writers long dead. So conventional writers are no more realists than these fundamentalist Rapture nuts are. They don't make as much money, but they have more fun.
Your nephew, The Reader Jul 05, Glen rated it it was amazing Shelves: What can I say?? I loved this read. I had my public library order it for me so I admit when I picked it up I was a bit overwhelmed by what I was about to undertake. Could Coover keep my interest for over one thousand pages? The answer was an adamant yes. Every word he used was necessary in the telling of his tale. I will now seek out the book that introduced the Brunists to the world almost 50 years ago. May 06, Heather Bennett rated it really liked it. Recent Activity Loading activity Korryn McMinn Finally I can download and read this ebook.
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