Review by Choice Review
Looking back on her 30 years as a teacher, novelist, critic, and theorist, Brooke-Rose notes that her efforts went mostly unnoticed, particularly her boldest experiments with narrative conventions and language. No regrets, though. She says that more attention than the little she had would have skewed her concentration--and that the kind of work she did called for as much focus as she could muster. She built her fictions around a constraint, "a self-imposed omission" like refusing all past-tense verbs or the verb "to be." Denying a staple of language, she learned, opens doors on less familiar linguistic aspects. Thus the absence of the verb "to be" implies the loss of identity, and fiction written in the present tense, though a handicap for the writer, sharpens the reader's awareness of the benefits of simultaneity. Brooke-Rose has always sought new ways to convey information. For instance, rather than lulling her, Roland Barthes's 1968 pronouncement on the death of the author stimulated her to explore both indirect discourse and the layout of print on a page as sources of meaning. Through it all, she remains clear, curious, and humane. Invisible Author offers civilized writing that retains its capacity to surprise. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. P. Wolfe University of Missouri--St. Louis
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