By Vanessa V. Friedman
Updated March 17, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST
Advertisement

The Tunnel

type
  • Book
genre

The Tunnel William H. Gass (Knopf, $30) Imagine a frustrated, middle-aged professor of German history in a Midwestern university town, unhappily married, tending toward corpulence, poised to publish his magnum opus (Guilt and Innocence in Hitler’s Germany) but stuck on the introduction, procrastinating by writing a history of himself and digging a physical tunnel in his basement. Then imagine digging a metaphorical tunnel through that man’s mind, observing cross sections as you go-his memories of an aborted birthday party, feelings toward his colleagues, longings for his first love-and you will have an idea of what Gass’ new novel, 30 years in the making, is like. It is often difficult, sometimes treacherous, occasionally filthy (protagonist William Kohler is fond of sexual rants about his wife), and always interesting. Also very slow going: Digging is an arduous task. Nevertheless, there is light at the end, and sometimes in the middle: memorable riffs on death, the meaning of evil, and the difficulty of childhood. A- -Vanessa V. Friedman

Episode Recaps

The Tunnel

type
  • Book
genre
author
  • Anthony Browne
publisher
  • Walker & Company

Comments