Friday, May 02, 2008

Rain Taxi Reviews Anna Kavan's Guilty

In the Spring 2008 edition of Rain Taxi, Kate Zambreno reviews Guilty by Anna Kavan and, though the article praises Kavan's "lost" novel, Zambreno spends more time describing the book than actually reviewing it.

The writing is good and the review serves as a decent introduction to Kavan's work:

Nearly everyone compares Kavan to Kafka, her alphabetic peer, although there is a difference between "Kafkaesque" and "Kavanesque": in Kafka there is a paranoid fear that everyone is laughing at youer, whereas in Kavan there is the ice-cold realization, the unlaughable certainty, that everyone is persecuting you.

But finding the real judgments is difficult work. To the reviewer, it is "one of Kavan's best works." So sure of it is Zambreno she concludes, "In the best of Kavan, of which Guilty can now be included, Kavan tells the story of not only the homeless but those who feel displaced inside their own home."

But who am I to criticize a review? Some times we really need to learn about the book that is being reviewed. Sometimes that's how I learn that I'd like to read a book. What I really want is to hear about the quailty of the book. I want to hear why the book is good, or bad. Of course, when I review a book here, I do little more than that. Thumbs up, thumbs down. What else do you need?

As far as Guilty goes, I don't really regard it as one of Kavan's best. I do have to say, though, the book has lingered with me since reading it. I still think that if she'd had another chance to revise this book, it could have been great.

No comments:

Post a Comment