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Book Review May 29, 2002
Summer Reading Guide
By John Dolan Browse author Email
Page 3 of 3
Dick has no "ironic distance" from these events. If he had written with greater awareness of the absurdity (from a university perspective) of his plots, he would now be adored by the people who consider deLillo & co. great writers. But Dick, thank God, dropped out of Berkeley early, and never went back. He meant what he wrote, and though he's often comic, he's always very serious about what he's saying. It is a matter of life and death with him. And his seriousness is starting to look more and more reasonable. Like Stevens, Dick has only begun to become comprehensible, and grows more lucid with every decade since his death. His global warming (The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch), his email slackers (Galactic Pot-Healer), his recovered-memory syndrome -- these components of his world have already arrived, and the rest are on their way.

He was no stylist, though -- or so people say. Well, it depends on what you mean. If Faulkner is style, Dick is not -- and neither is Defoe, or Dostoevskii. If style is snickering at your own plots, then Dick, thank God, is no stylist at all. But it's the stylists who are aging most alarmingly these days; it's hard to read them without impatience. Faulkner, Joyce, Woolf -- all these names, on expensive bookjackets, are being flung across many a room these days.

Dick wrote two or three great scenes per book. They're like arias, and he rationed them very carefully. His books are plot and dialogue; the great scenes are the payoff, and they come at the end. The Martian jackal, who looks "like a wizened grandmother," veers at the last second away from its prey, Barney Mayerson, and telepathically asks him, "I can't eat you. I'd be sick. You're unclean; can't you cleanse yourself some way?" The garrulous automatic cab tells the hero of Now Wait for Last Year tells the hero he's "a good man" for sticking with his malevolent, braindamaged wife, as it speeds him home in misery...there are a few such moments in each Dick novel, written as well, line for line, as any Joyce. But a book of great lines is a burden to the reader, and Dick saves them for the end. It made him unpopular with the Joyce-bred critics; but it will save him, when they and their idols are footnotes to the study of the Philip K. Dick era of English Literature.
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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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