Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Contemporary American Fiction

So I took a class on Contemporary American Fiction at the University of Houston taught by a really good English Professor, who is an amazing lecturer and teacher.  I really enjoyed listening to what he had to say. 
Anyway.  You're probably wondering, what books did I read.  To that I will list the books in the following order that we read them in. 
1) White Noise by Don Dellilo
2) New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
3) Music For Torching by A. M. Holmes
4) Catfish and Mandala by Andrew Pham
5) Jesus Saves by Darcey Steinke
6) Fight Club by Chuck Palaniuk
7) Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones
8) In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders
9) 10:01 by Lance Olsen
10) AVA by Carol Maso
My favorites are New York Trilogy, Fight Club, and 10:01.  Sometimes In Persuasion Nation and AVA are in my favorites.

You're probably wondering, what is Contemporary American Fiction.  In order to define that we need to ask ourselves another question: What is postmodern literature?

To tell you the truth, I'm still trying to figure it out, because there seem to be various definitions in how to define it and none of it is consistent.  Basically what my professor taught us is that postmodern literature basically:

1) Deals with the problems of consumer culture
2) Deals with the problems of media and hyperreality. 
3) Deals with the grand narrative and how we cannot have one truth but many truths
4) Deals with the concept of chance rather than determined fate of events
5) Deals with the idea of an unresolved ending, unresolved question, just merely ends

That's the basics of it.  I hope I haven't misinterpreted what he has told me.  Very interesting concept and all.  If you apply these definitions to the books listed above and read closely you will see those hidden concepts emerge from the text.  Each book is unique unto itself and I highly recommend reading my favorites. 

I like New York Trilogy because of the language.  It takes the New York mystery story and takes it somewhere entirely else, on a road of language, religion, and unresolved story matters. 

Fight Club deals with the idea of the loss of masculinity inside a consumer culture.  In a desire to escape the repetitive boring feminine system society as created, the two main characters create a Fight Club to feel the surge of masculine bravado, only to create another system, one that it is in fact militaristic and brainwashing.  You'll like the twist near the end, I won't spoil it. 

10:01 is a series of vignettes, short little moments in the first ten minutes of the movie theater.  Each vignettes enters inside each movie goer's head, each stylistically different, sometimes so surreal.  One vignette even enters the screenplay formatting into one characters mind blurring the boundaries between screenplay and Fiction. 

Well that's it for now.  I'll talk more about these books at another time and go more in depth into their messages.  For now, I need to do some homework.  Keep reading everyone. 

Starvix Draxon 

No comments:

Post a Comment