A scar is born - Page 2

Gary Indiana casts a warm but scathing eye at Utopia's Debris
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Indiana in the middle

The book's final roll call of subjects — Robert Bresson, Georges Simenon, Brecht, and Weill as filtered through Harry Smith — is vital and dramatically potent.

A lifetime of sharpening sentences like so many knives means that Indiana knows how to write an intro: "You could infer from the production notes that Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain would be useful if it came in a spray can. Spritz a little on a fundamentalist and change him into a liberal, or neutralize a whole church of basement of rednecks with a full-strength tolerance bomb." When he detonates explosives by pious pop culture it makes for entertaining reading. But the peak stretches of Utopia's Debris occur within assessments of a wide variety — Gavin Lambert, Mary Wornov, Caroline Blackwood, Rudolph Wurlitzer, Witold Gombrowicz, Thomas Bernhard, Curzio Malaparte, Jean Echenoz, Emmanul Carrère — of anti-canonical novelists. Through them, Indiana wrestles with his own ideas about life and chosen calling in a manner that is revelatory.

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