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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    Postmodernism In the Nursing Home? Donald Barthelme Reconsidered

    By kyle | February 21, 2009

    Today in the Wall Street Journal I write about Donald Barthelme, the subject of the admiring (and engrossing) new literary biography “Hiding Man” by Tracy Daugherty. Barthelme was a highly inventive writer, and some of his famous stories exhibit a marvelous sense of weird. Barthelme inspired many imitators. (The definitive collection is his “Sixty Stories.”) But is postmodernism today just another faded fad?

    Topics: Art, Books | 1 Comment »

    One Response to “Postmodernism In the Nursing Home? Donald Barthelme Reconsidered”

    1. Elisheva Urbas Says:
      February 22nd, 2009 at 12:40 am

      It’s a good review, and hard to disagree overall with your assessment of Barthelme’s stories. That said, I have two caveats.

      One is to note the enormous influence of Barthelme, Pynchon et al on the young men — Wallace, Franzen, Eggers — who have succeeded the minimalists. American writing has moved back and forth many times already between the spare and the Whitman-like, and it makes more sense to see Barthelme as one end of this oscillation than as a literary dead end without offspring.

      And second, I think his posthumously-published novel The King is the most moving of his books; it has the irony of the best stories with some actual emotion mixed in. Don’t write off those novels too quickly.