More Books of the Year: Kate Zambreno

by on Dec.28, 2010

Here’s a link to James Pate’s review of Kate Zambreno’s O Fallen Angel.

Here’s an excerpt:

“It is tempting to read Zambreno’s novel as a satire–and the blurbs on her book suggest that we should–but the text actually has little of the cool comic detachment found in such satirists as Swift and Godard and Flannery O’Conner, that sense that we are looking through a microscope at the lives of various characters. Instead, O Fallen Angel is more of a grotesque parade of certain social “types” and clichés taken to their furthest degree. The book reminds me of early Robert Crumb, a great deal of Jeff Koons, and even some of John Waters, other artists fascinated by the kitschy, grotesque underbelly of American culture. And like those artists, Zambreno finds this kitsch exhilarating. The overriding tone of the novel is oddly joyful; and while the book is very funny, it’s not coolly so–in fact, there is nothing cool or classical about this book at all, and the novel in general brings to my mind certain Dogma 95 films where the camera plunges right into the action, making it purposely difficult to get our bearings. There are no establishing shots here.”

[PS James has written a bunch more reviews for Montevidayo, but unfortunately he’s not managed to get Internet connection in his new house in Virginia, so they won’t be posted until later, in the new year.]

[Also: Megan, didn’t you write something somewhere about the book? Perhaps you could give a link as well.]

2 comments for this entry:
  1. megan

    i did, yes – a review in RAIN TAXI – not available online, but here’s a link to the issue TOC:

  2. angela

    i’m so happy to see kate’s book getting so much positive attention! this book is in my top slot as best book of the year, actually. i read it 3 times and it got better and better with each read. it’s amazing how nuanced a work rendered in Cliche is- a testament to her skill as a writer and the fearlessness of her instincts.

    thanks johannes.