Tonight, HECTOR TOBAR returns to Orange County as part of Gustavo Arellano's "Awesome Lecture Series" at Fullerton Public Library. Tobar will read and discuss his novel The Barbarian Nurseries.
7 PM. 353 W. Commonwealth Ave. FREE!
You can find Tobar in this morning's Los Angeles Times in a piece titled "George Saunders hasn't written a novel, and I don't care."
...Art is what art wants to be. Saunders is a prose stylist with a half-dozen different styles in his literary arsenal. In each of his stories he’s showing his mastery over one, or two or several of those weapons. And he's doing so with a truly rare combination of compassion, insight and a willingness to go to all the freaky places his imagination will take him. If he goes his entire career without writing a novel I won’t complain, just as I have very little complaints about there not being a big Chekhov novel.
At the same time, I think I understand why Saunders hasn’t written a novel, even though, as Chen points out, he’s tried.
Simply put, I think George Saunders hasn’t written a novel because he’s too much of a prose perfectionist. Because he’s unwilling to write a mediocre page. Because he likes the control the short-story form gives him...
...A successful short-story writer, however, can’t get away with crafting two or three mediocre paragraphs. Writing to that kind of standard is a habit that can become so deeply ingrained, I think, that many of those writers can’t bring themselves to build the one or two clunky rafters that are required to hold up the roof of a novel. With a short story, the reader’s attention is more focused. George Saunders is building perfect, if smaller constructions, with nary a wasted word. And we writers and readers love and admire him for it...