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Rose Theatre is the second book of the Sorrentino trilogy, the first book of which, Odd Number, was published in 1985. Odd Number investigated the ways in which "facts" assert themselves through the various encodings of experience contained in the answers to a rigidly circumscribed set of questions; i.e., the answers, whether colored by prejudice, opinion, distortions both Rose Theatre is the second book of the Sorrentino trilogy, the first book of which, Odd Number, was published in 1985. Odd Number investigated the ways in which "facts" assert themselves through the various encodings of experience contained in the answers to a rigidly circumscribed set of questions; i.e., the answers, whether colored by prejudice, opinion, distortions both conscious and unconscious, or presented as objective retorts based upon absolute data, reveal themselves as wholly incapable of telling anything that might be construed as the truth. As the book progresses, all is contradicted, refuted, thrown into turmoil. Rose Theatre, concentrating on data already posited, plus new data, endeavors to "correct" the errors of Odd Number. Everything is filtered through the experiences attendant upon the lives of the major female characters of the first book, yet as we read we discover that the new information has no authority to dispel the data given therein. Rather, Rose Theatre, in its desire to stabilize and clarify, adds new and unsettling material to that which we already possess. By turns, both deeply sinister and wildly comic, Rose Theatre continues Sorrentino's assault on the idea of realism in fiction, culminating here in a world that is in every way as mysterious, beguiling, and filled with contradictions as the one we inhabit each day. "Gilbert Sorrentino has long been one of our most intelligent and daring writers. . . . But he is also one of our funniest writers, given to Joycean flights of wordplay, punning, list-making, vulgarity and relentless self-commentary." (Robert Cohen, New York Times Book Review 12-20-87) "Sorrentino's ear for dialects and metaphor is perfect: his creations, however brief their presence, are vivid, and much of his writing is very funny and clever, piled with allusions." (Washington Post Book World 12-13-87) "Sorrentino's fiction does not reveal a world of sense, of reason, but portrays with equal brilliance our fall into nonsense, into the Babel of our everyday lives." (Douglas Messerli, Los Angeles Times Book Review 12-6-87) "The Joyce-enthralled Sorrentino is a talented, clever writer with a nose for the messy lives of some contemporary types squatting on the margins of the arts, and for the telltale detail." (Publishers Weekly 10-9-87) "A refreshing and rewarding visit with one of the most creative writers publishing today." (Library Journal 11-15-87)


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Rose Theatre is the second book of the Sorrentino trilogy, the first book of which, Odd Number, was published in 1985. Odd Number investigated the ways in which "facts" assert themselves through the various encodings of experience contained in the answers to a rigidly circumscribed set of questions; i.e., the answers, whether colored by prejudice, opinion, distortions both Rose Theatre is the second book of the Sorrentino trilogy, the first book of which, Odd Number, was published in 1985. Odd Number investigated the ways in which "facts" assert themselves through the various encodings of experience contained in the answers to a rigidly circumscribed set of questions; i.e., the answers, whether colored by prejudice, opinion, distortions both conscious and unconscious, or presented as objective retorts based upon absolute data, reveal themselves as wholly incapable of telling anything that might be construed as the truth. As the book progresses, all is contradicted, refuted, thrown into turmoil. Rose Theatre, concentrating on data already posited, plus new data, endeavors to "correct" the errors of Odd Number. Everything is filtered through the experiences attendant upon the lives of the major female characters of the first book, yet as we read we discover that the new information has no authority to dispel the data given therein. Rather, Rose Theatre, in its desire to stabilize and clarify, adds new and unsettling material to that which we already possess. By turns, both deeply sinister and wildly comic, Rose Theatre continues Sorrentino's assault on the idea of realism in fiction, culminating here in a world that is in every way as mysterious, beguiling, and filled with contradictions as the one we inhabit each day. "Gilbert Sorrentino has long been one of our most intelligent and daring writers. . . . But he is also one of our funniest writers, given to Joycean flights of wordplay, punning, list-making, vulgarity and relentless self-commentary." (Robert Cohen, New York Times Book Review 12-20-87) "Sorrentino's ear for dialects and metaphor is perfect: his creations, however brief their presence, are vivid, and much of his writing is very funny and clever, piled with allusions." (Washington Post Book World 12-13-87) "Sorrentino's fiction does not reveal a world of sense, of reason, but portrays with equal brilliance our fall into nonsense, into the Babel of our everyday lives." (Douglas Messerli, Los Angeles Times Book Review 12-6-87) "The Joyce-enthralled Sorrentino is a talented, clever writer with a nose for the messy lives of some contemporary types squatting on the margins of the arts, and for the telltale detail." (Publishers Weekly 10-9-87) "A refreshing and rewarding visit with one of the most creative writers publishing today." (Library Journal 11-15-87)

34 review for Rose Theatre

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zadignose

    A shaggy dog tale without the shaggy dog and without the tale. A LITERARY OUTRAGE. But novelists have the right to be outrageous from time to time... or for the length of a career, whichever comes last. Sorrentino clearly reached a point where he could no longer see any reason to create new narratives, or new characters, or new situations, or new forms, or literary conceits, nor could he find any reason to pander to an audience, nor to write prettily, nor to be consistent or anything but vague a A shaggy dog tale without the shaggy dog and without the tale. A LITERARY OUTRAGE. But novelists have the right to be outrageous from time to time... or for the length of a career, whichever comes last. Sorrentino clearly reached a point where he could no longer see any reason to create new narratives, or new characters, or new situations, or new forms, or literary conceits, nor could he find any reason to pander to an audience, nor to write prettily, nor to be consistent or anything but vague and insinuating. Yet he wrote. The material is an assortment of characters whose perversities, scandals, weaknesses, and humiliations have already been thoroughly hashed and rehashed, but who apparently need another round through the grinder to be sure they get a sufficient dose hell in their lives--and in ours. To Sorrentino, humans--especially those with any connection to art and literary "scenes"--are a bunch of physically, morally, and intellectually deformed creatures who prey upon one another and upon themselves relentlessly, and while he may occasionally pity them, he is surely moved to loathe them from time to time--basically all those times when he is writing. Names and circumstances are arbitrary and interchangeable, and the author feels little compulsion to hide this "fact." (<---Sorrentino-style double-ironic quotation-mark usage.) Nonetheless, he can make us laugh, in a cynical sort of way. And along the way he delivers: lists; an entire chapter of rhetorical questions; lies; heaps of women's underthings to be worn, fondled, masturbated with, and foully stained; an entire chapter of he-said-she-said; pseudo-mystical-mumbo-jumbo; a chapter that consists entirely of one sentence, but many paragraphs; MORE than one would ask of any one thing; parody and lampoon; baby talk; parades of cliches; parades of the author's own peculiar turns of phrase; several references to the writings of Joyce (and "the glove that dare not speak its name"); a bizarrely inflated and paranoid, though surely insincere assumption that every sentence of his book, and every inner reflection of every character within it has already been the subject of intense scrutiny and debate by the general public ("Many were the voices that did cheer her on, although others were predictably silent"); an entire chapter in imitation of Beckett (or so I opine); preemptive self-criticism ("...then, of course, there is the flatness of the narrative, the lack of tension, the absence of conflict and resolution, the dying falls, the lack of closure"); contempt for the goals and standards of mainstream "literary" fiction; shattered dreams; dreams come tragically true; and some sad, lost people, mainly women, seen in perhaps a different light but still as stark a light as was shone on the pathetic males who were their companions and tormentors in previous iterations of this "tale." A few snippets: "True love breaks out in boils and pimples while he whacks off on his knees, weeping, forgive me, forgive me, oh, forgive me!" "On what bitter occasion did she say, 'Fly me to the moon or at least for Christ's sake take me to the fucking zoo'?" "They left to confront a rain that poured down sullenly, like a great wet hand, on the city, a wet and cold and merciless hand..."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emmett

  3. 4 out of 5

    Durand Jones

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jtmichae

  5. 5 out of 5

    Max

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allyssa

  7. 4 out of 5

    Randall Rupp

  8. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Davis-Van Atta

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lance

  10. 5 out of 5

    Herb

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

  12. 4 out of 5

    George Bieber

  13. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

  14. 5 out of 5

    Judd

  15. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Diva

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lhson

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Sorrentino

  19. 5 out of 5

    Billy Bat

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laure

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kat

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

  23. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

  24. 4 out of 5

    Thulu

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  26. 5 out of 5

    Daria Demidova

  27. 5 out of 5

    Annie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rhys Gwyther

  29. 4 out of 5

    mwpm mwpm

  30. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  31. 4 out of 5

    Konrad

  32. 4 out of 5

    mark mendoza

  33. 4 out of 5

    Merry

  34. 5 out of 5

    Mike O'Shaughnessy

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