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NW mightily impressed me on one count: compression of expression. Aesthetically, it was antithetical to the DFW, Franzen school of no thought unworthy and thus none not pursued nor unwritten. Call it hysterical or don't.

Smith's dialogue and, if you will, free indirect discourse, were precise, apt, and, to my mind, beautiful. Tight. This was her learning, I would venture, from McCarthy, whose repetitions and re-enactments in Remainder had an almost analytical rigor and inevitability.

The stuff about authenticity and cultural reference in NW, to me, were mere surface features. Somewhat informative and interesting, but ultimately peripheral to the art.

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  • Daniel Green is a literary critic and sometime fiction writer. His reviews, critical essays, and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications, both online and in print. He has a Ph.D focusing on postwar American fiction and an M.A. in creative writing.

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