William H. Gass, Middle C

A review by Cynthia Ozick (The New York Times)

Of all living literary figures, William Gass may count as the most daringly scathing and the most assertively fecund: in language, in ideas, in intricacy of form (essays zigzagging thought); above all in relentless fury.

“I write because I hate,” he declaimed in a 1977 Paris Review interview. And another time, in a French newspaper: “I write to indict mankind.” A Swiftian project: Gass’s plenitude of evils swarms named and naked in “Middle C,” a novel prodigal in deceits and impostures. From its opening notes until its coda, this unquiet bildungsroman is designed to detonate its mild and middling title. Even more telling, the crooked limbs of its deceptions pass, as if heritable, from father to son. [Read More]

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