Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Stanley Elkin's Greatest Hits

My latest read was Stanley Elkin's Greatest Hits (1980) by -- you guessed it -- Stanley Elkin. This is one of Dr. M's books, and he has been telling me that I should read it, as I would really really like it. Darn it if that Dr. M isn't right some of the time.

This is a collection of novellas, stories, and parts of novels taken from Elkin's other books. It has made me want to read everything by Elkin I can get my hands on. I find it very hard to summarize something that I really like, particularly when it is made out of so many discrete pieces, but lets just say that Elkin plays with language, is both funny and sad, has fun with the ways words fit together, and can draw up some very real and memorable characters. Plus one section ends with about 30 pages of a guy having sex with a bear, and it is honestly a very moving and appropriate way to end the story. No joke.

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