Prufrock's Page

Friday, December 08, 2006

Precocious Realism

27-year-old Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics -- still lying unread on one's shelf, alas -- was almost unanimously hailed as one of the most promising debuts of the year, even finding a place on the New York Times' 10 best books. Now comes the inevitable backlash: Meghan O'Rourke coins the phrase "precocious realism" to describe the book (taking a leaf from James Woods' "hysterical realism") and goes on to point out its chief failing: "A lack of self-control is all too easily disguised as purposeful uncertainty."


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