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Novel

B-

Whether you see Novel — a novel about a middle-aged Carolinian named Novel trying to write a (wait for it) memoir — as a dizzy metatextual Tilt-A-Whirl or a shapeless mass of deep-fried Southern affectation will depend on several factors, including love of the region and blood-alcohol level. George Singleton, primarily a writer of short stories, has turned in an angrily self-deconstructing, archly pseudophilosophical, and grossly distended writing exercise, thinly disguised as the chronicle of an inbred hamlet crawling with (largely inconsequential) secrets. Quoth Novel: ”Glimpses of my childhood reveal themselves at times much the same as that little polka-dotted man carrying a valise shows up when one ingests a gram-too-much psilocybin mushroom the night before his wedding.” Yep, it’s all like that.

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