TRee Logo

Raymond Federman:

SUNY Press
State University Plaza
Albany NY 12246

160 pp., $14.95

Raymond Federman is a long time practitioner and theorist of Postmodernist art and thought, whose novels include Double Or Nothing, Take It Or Leave It, and The Two-Fold Vibration. In this new book of "Postmodern Essays," Federman focuses on themes that have obsessed him throughout his long career, including Surfiction (a kind of fiction that he himself forwarded in the seventies), Imagination As Pla{y}giarism, Self-Reflexive Narrative Devices, The Mainstream Publishing Industry's Inability To Open Up New Markets That Take Advantage of The Wealth of Experimental Novels Being Written and, of course, Postmodernism (it's birth and it's death). Federman tells us toward the end of this collection that: "I am in the process of burying Post-modernism [because] Postmodernism is indeed dead, finished: on one hand because it was swallowed and digested by the economy and eventually excreted and disseminated into the culture, on the other hand because it was stifled by academic bickering and consequently turned into a futile debate." But Federman isn't crying over the Death of Postmodernism. Nor is he, like conservative critics whose names I won't utter, ready to yell "Good Riddance!" Throughout these informal, provocative essays, Federman celebrates the crazy products of Postmodern Fiction: works by such writers as Pynchon, Sukenick, Barth, Sorrentino, Gins, Abish and many others, as well as the one writer who Federman has spent his entire adult life studying and trying to make sense of: Samuel Beckett. The Ghost of Beckett and all his alter-identities (Malloy, Malone, The Unnameable) fills these pages. Federman goes so far as to say that December 22, 1989, the day Beckett died, was also the day Postmodernism died. Whatever Post-modernism is, and I guess we'll talk about it until the Next Thing works its way into the mainstream culture, anyone interested in getting a candid take on what it could be should check out this book.--Mark Amerika

Back to TapRoot Reviews homepage.

This review originally appeared in TapRoot Reviews #4,
Copyright Burning Press 1994, 1995.

Contact the editor, luigi-bob drake, at Burning Press