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Nilson Carroll | Rochester, NY

When I was a kid in high school, I picked up a copy of Time of Need by William Barrett at Greenwood Books -- it's a critical book about narrative forms in the 20th century, and focuses on Camus, Hemingway, Faulkner, atonality, and modernist sculpture.

Barrett's great, but when I was sixteen, I found the book to be apocalyptic, fully (to a fault) reading into the idea of the 20th century as being a "time of need," seeing modernism as this catastrophic problem that needed correcting. I wasn't really understanding the text, and had only read about Nietzsche on Wikipedia (missing all the jokes).

It cracks me up now, rereading it, reading pages and pages on Hemingway's sentence structures, for instance, and recalling that these chapters once evoked something completely radical (and naive) in me, some rebellious spark.

A book, and art in general, is best when it crushes you, ruins your day and your life, and never leaves you.


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