Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Family Author

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Somewhere near the beginning of this incisive critical study of perhaps the most elusive and, to some minds, structurally disordered of living writers, Molly Hite notes that the idea of order has always fascinated novelists. She attributes this to the genre's being a hybrid, committed as it is, on the one hand, to a rigorous teleology in which events exist for the sake of resolution, and, on the other, to imitating a world that stubbornly refuses to ad up. the teleological impetus of narrative, she notes, reflects a “a God-ordered universe,” while the mimetic tendency describes “a man-centered world.” And because the two world views are irreconcilable, they pose a dilemma—the dilemma that Pynchon treats satirically in his three novels: that the alternative to theology is paranoia.