Monday, April 05, 2004

Spalding Gray, Sex and Death to the Age 14, 1986.

I picked up Gray's book because of an exceptionally praising article in Salon, which celebrated Gray and lamented the recent confirmation of his death. I hoped Gray would be another Davies.

You see, reading an author shortly after his death is not a new thing for me. The first one I remember finding after hearing an obituary was Robertson Davies, a guy I'd always meant to read. Gray isn't the next one, either: there have been a couple others in between, and generally, I've been quite sad that I didn't discover the author's works prior to his or her death.

Gray's monologues were interesting, certainly, and I enjoyed the book. Moments of it were wonderful: things to make the reader laugh and vivid depictions not just of the world but of the motivations of people sparkle, drawing the reader in. Ultimately, though, the monologues fracture, move from a point. They're entertaining, but nothing more--which wouldn't be so bad, were it not for the fact that the monologues offer glimpses, snatches of some insight that lingers forever just out of reach.

I may read another. Gray told the author of that Salon piece that he far preferred his novel Impossible Vacation to most of his other work, and I got it from the library at the same time that I picked up Sex and Death to the Age 14. Right now, though, I don't feel sufficiently motivated.

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