Saturday, February 03, 2007

PW Book Club


Let's get this bird off the ground. We rather fell into this work, our fist selection for the WP book discussion, because Sobes was looking for a book to read a few weeks back and I had a copy in my office. Rereading the thing this past week brought to the surface a couple of deeply felt gut instincts of my own: 1) people will always remain essentially barbarians, despite the thin veneer of civilization with which we try to cover ourselves, and 2) never trust anyone. Considering the controversy surrounding the book, I wonder, and offer this as a topic of discussion, whether or not it matters if this is fiction or a catalogue of horrors from Kosinski's early life? Is the story, and the writing, powerful enough to elevate The Painted Bird to 'great book' (not in the Columbia or U of Chicago sense) status? Or is this just an example of twisted Holocaust-porno posing as great literature?

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