Cantos: A New Directions Blog

Forrest Gander’s Approach

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While reading the review of Forrest Gander’s As a Friend in the Harvard Review, I was struck by J.T. Townley’s concluding paragraph:

“Few poets have produced innovative first novels that explore such varied emotional terrain in so few pages, while at the same time reminding us to `approach each other and the world with as much vulnerability as we can possibly sustain.’ In a recent essay, Gander makes his aesthetic project clear: `What I want is…to combine spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and technical elements into a resistant musical form.’ With this impressive, if imperfect, fiction debut, he’s come close.”

When I first read As a Friend , I said to the editor that somehow it reminded me Godard’s Masculin Feminin, but one that was set in the American pastoral. In both works, the central characters approach the world with vulnerability…with more vulnerability than either can sustain. Yet, one can’t help but admire that openness to the world, an openness which takes a great deal of courage to attempt.

~Soo Jin

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Written by New Directions

July 2, 2009 at 7:50 pm

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