Avant-Pop: Fiction for a Daydream Nation.
These two anthologies will interest readers of this particular issue of the Review, not simply because Vollmann is in both and Wallace in Love Is Strange, but because they also include many of the authors named in the interviews: Eurudice, Mark Leyner, and Kathy Acker are in McCaffery's band, and Rose and Texier's includes Lynne Tillman, Acker again, and A. M. Homes's Barbie story, in addition to much more. Both anthologies come less from the world of creative writing programs than from rock music, television, and the weirder manifestations of pop culture. The titles of the books derive from rock - Day-dream Nation is the title of a Sonic Youth album, and "Love Is Strange" an old song from Mickey and Sylvia (though neither title is actually explained: if you don't already know the references, you aren't in the intended audience) - and the sensibilities displayed in the stories have less to do with traditional fiction than with television shows like Saturday Night Live and The Edge. That is to say, these stories have all the appeal of the best kinds of pop - off-the-wall humor, brash innovation, breezy iconoclasm, unstudied charm, reckless energy - along with some of pop's disadvantages: insubstantiality, shallowness, plain recklessness. That said, both anthologies are way more enjoyable than most collections of short fiction being published these days. Avant-Pop is more daring and eclectic than Love Is Strange, and both are mostly made up of previously published material, but both are highly recommended.
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|Publication:||The Review of Contemporary Fiction|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Jun 22, 1993|
|Next Article:||Love Is Strange: Stories of Postmodern Romance.|