Hatchet Jobs by Dale Peck
Writings on Contemporary Fiction

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

The acclaimed novelist takes a vigorous swipe at contemporary fiction and its progenitors.

"Rick Moody is the worst writer of his generation."—from Hatchet Jobs

According to Dale Peck, contemporary fiction is at an impasse. Its place as entertainer and educator has been usurped by television and the movies while publishing has become a feeder industry to Hollywood. Faced with such diminished status, novelists have reacted in two admirable, if misguided, ways: writing for targeted socio-cultural groups, they produce so-called "identity fiction," which employs a neo-Victorian realism and resembles anthropology more than art; or, they've pursued an ironic and self-reflexive postmodernism that can only comment on the real world with a mocking, impotent jest. Both "solutions" are reactionary and self-defeating, leading to books for the few rather than the many that isolate their readers instead of bringing them together.

Hatchet Jobs methodically eviscerates such writing. Reviewing the work of Jim Crace, Rick Moody, and Colson Whitehead, Dale Peck scrutinizes the publishing climate that fosters what he deems mediocre work and the critical establishment that rewards it. Essays on gay and black women's fiction acknowledge the benefits and limitations of identity fiction, while critiques of Julian Barnes and David Foster Wallace show how twentieth-century literary movements continue to shape fiction for both good and ill. Rife with textual analysis, historical context, and insights about the power of fiction, Hatchet Jobs hacks away literature's deadwood to discover the vital heart of the contemporary novel.

 

About Dale Peck

See more books from this Author
Dale Peck was born on Long Island and is the author of severDale Peck was born on Long Island and is the author of several novels, including "Martin and John", a collection of shoral novels, including "Martin and John", a collection of short stories, and a family memoir. His short fiction has appeart stories, and a family memoir. His short fiction has appeared in "Artforum", "BOMB", "The London Review of Books", " Thed in "Artforum", "BOMB", "The London Review of Books", " The New Republic", "The New York Times", and "The Village Voice New Republic", "The New York Times", and "The Village Voice". He also teaches creative writing and received a Guggenhee". He also teaches creative writing and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1995. He lives in New York. im Fellowship in 1995. He lives in New York.
 
Published January 1, 2004 by New Press, The. 228 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Hatchet Jobs

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Peck's sustained, often brutal dissections of Phillip Roth, Julian Barnes, and David Foster Wallace, among others, can seem pedantic and unfair, but they amply make the point that there's way too much lazy prose and sloppy thinking in modern literature.

| Read Full Review of Hatchet Jobs: Writings on Con...

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

Hatchet Jobs: Writings on Contemporary Fiction by Dale Peck 228pp, The New Press, £13.95 The reason why you're hearing about this book is simple: Dale Peck once wrote a spectacularly nasty review of a Rick Moody novel, a review so grossly unfair that Peck became notorious.

Sep 25 2004 | Read Full Review of Hatchet Jobs: Writings on Con...

Bookmarks Magazine

The reader can share the fun and games, witnessing the rare bravado of a critic who is uniformly interesting and evidently fearless …" George Garrett Atlantic Monthly 3.5 of 5 Stars "In his meticulous attention to diction, his savage wit, his exact and rollicking prose, his fierce devotion t...

Oct 21 2009 | Read Full Review of Hatchet Jobs: Writings on Con...

Reader Rating for Hatchet Jobs
55%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 17 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review