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From: "Jason Voegele" <jvoegele@carolla.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Giving Wolfe to the inexperienced
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 10:51:56 

From: Dan Rabin <danrabin@a.crl.com>

>On the other hand, another close friend, who keeps current in the
>"mainstream" genre, whose bookshelves are filled with books of the sort
>that get reviewed in the New York Times Book Revies, who has a fine head
>for the human experience as presented in literature, couldn't get past page
>one of _Peace_.

I've had the same unfortunate experience with PEACE.  I've a friend that
reads what I'd consider quality work within the genre (Dan Simmons, PK Dick,
to name a couple), and he's also a huge fan of James Joyce, Joseph Conrad,
and T.S. Eliot.  The last book I recommended to him (Mark Helprin's MEMOIR
FROM ANTPROOF CASE) he absolutely loved.  I recommended PEACE, which he
started and quickly set aside saying he wasn't in a "literary mood".  I went
back to Helprin, and recommended WINTER'S TALE.  He couldn't quite grok that
one and gave up on it as well.  I thought I'd give Wolfe one more shot and
told him to try TBOTNS.  He's reading it now, but progress is slow and I
don't think he's really getting into it.

Anyway, my point is, I guess, that there is no particular precondition for
which we can say "this person will become a Wolfe fan".  Genre fans find him
strange and difficult (in general), while those with more literary
aspirations dismiss him for his genre associations.  A sad case indeed, and
I found it particularly disheartening that PEACE hasn't been so well
received by those who apparently recognize good writing when they see it.

From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
>I wonder if we could put together a list of the "easiest" or "most
>accessible" Wolfe?  "Wolfe for Beginners"?

OK, so here's my list:

To "non-genre" fans:
1)  Peace
2)  Storeys from the Old Hotel
3)  The Book of the New Sun
4)  The Soldier books
5)  The Fifth Head of Cerberus

To genre fans:
1)  The Fifth Head of Cerberus
2)  The Book of the Long Sun
3)  The Book of the New Sun
4)  The Soldier books
5)  The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories, and Other Stories

Jason Voegele

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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