What you were to be holding in your hands was, presumably, the tunnel itself, a burrowing into blackness. Gass was a professor of philosophy at washington university. William howard gass was an american novelist, shortstory writer, essayist, critic, and philosophy professor. While writing the introduction to his magnum opus, a moral history of hitlers germany, a middleaged historian finds himself writing instead a history of the historian himself and secretly digging a tunnel out of his own basement. Gass died on december 6, 2017 at the age of ninetythree. William howard gass july 30, 1924 december 6, 2017 was an american novelist, shortstory writer, essayist, critic, and philosophy professor. He has written three novels, three collections of short stories, a collection of novellas, and seven volumes of essays, three of which have won national book critics circle award prizes and one of which, a temple of texts 2006, won the truman capote award for literary criticism. Gass pdf genial ebooks download the ebook the tunnel william h. The sheer genius of gass book is not merely that he breathes life into such a character, but that he makes him so pruriently fascinating. This, however, and the fact that kohler begins to secretly dig a tunnel out of his basement, are the only shards of plot in this otherwise formless book.
Birthdays, like weddings, anniversaries, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, wakes, are occasions to retie family ties, renew family feuds, restore family feeling, add to family lore, tribalize the psyche, generate guilt, exercise power, wave a foreign flag, talk in tongues, exchange lies, remember dates and the old days, to be fond of how it was, be angry at what it should be, and weep at why it isnt. All of this is on my mind at the moment because i have recently reread the tunnel by william h. Exploring books arts, i was taken with the tunnel book on display. The tunnel conceit the tunnel is an authorial conceit on the part of william h gass as well as his protagonist, william f.
Gass s mammoth magnum opus became a legend of the literary world, the sasquatch of contemporary american fiction. However, it is in his longest work of fiction, the tunnel, that gass expands his concerns to their fullest extent. I was drawn into the tunnel and could not escape its disturbing reality. William frederick kohler, the protagonist of william gass the tunnel, is a loathsome, despicable, misanthropic college professor ranting at his wife, his colleagues, his children and his mistresses. Apr 01, 2005 i was drawn into the tunnel and could not escape its disturbing reality.
By being fleeter and more seductively plotted than the tunnel, his 20 novel middle c managed to top it as a savage. But im not really sure that i love it and im worried that not much is going to. Gasss the tunnel, whatever its virtues, is not an inviting book. The moralists have condemned the work as being immoral, as though literature has some narrow role to preach what is. At the lannan foundation in 1998, william gass reads from his second novel, the tunnel knopf, 1995, which took twentysix years to write and earned him the 1996 american book award. Le tunnel by william h gass and a great selection of related books, art and collectibles available now at. His 20 novel middle c won the 2015 william dean howells med. Gass discusses the evolution and style of his thirtyyearsin the making new novel, the tunnel, finally published this month. Others have identified the virtuosity of gasss literary craft, i agree, but the book is more than literary genius, it is a haunting look at life, death, and all the follies between. Between chapters, kohler pauses to dig an escape tunnel through the basement wall as his wife waits patiently upstairs. Noted for his experimental use of language, gass has been called the finest prose stylist in america. The moral questions posed loom large and gass presents them well but not everyone will want to hear them. It was also a finalist for the penfaulkner award the tunnel is the work of william frederick kohler, a professor of history at an unnamed university in the american midwest. The tunnel is most like gasss last work of fiction, a relatively brief novella titled willie masters lonesome wife 1971, which, like the more ambitious the tunnel, is a firstperson.
Even a reader willing to endure its length and its narrators unrelenting bitterness must overcome. Kohlers introduction to his major work on world war ii, guilt and innocence in hitlers germany, the culmination of his years studying the aspects of the nazi regime in the scope of its causes and effects. St louis postdispatch the us author william h gass, who explored the boundaries of fiction in novels such as the tunnel and. Gass, himself, reads his universally acclaimed novel in its entirety. It is something i have seldom seen the expression of an ecstatic state though much is foolishly written of them, as if they grew like jerusalem artichokes along the road. Gass, 97815647827, available at book depository with free delivery worldwide.
Even a reader willing to endure its length and its narrators unrelenting bitterness must. Debra di blasis gass pain says the tunnel suffocates in its similes and does not make its narrator wicked enough. Thirty years in the making, william gasss second novel first appeared. The author of three novels and several volumes of essays and short stories, william h. From a simple narrative idea gass creates a complicated internal odyssey. Flawless first edition hardcover copy with flawless dust jacket. July 14, 2019 pages 629644 were bound into the book inverted. If anyone who has read the book would like to offer any other insights rique. Librarything is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers all about the tunnel by william h. That is the operative metaphor of this 652 page book, yet in only a few of its many chapters is the actual. Gass, as readers of his fiction and gorgeous literary essays will know on being blue, can turn a phrase and render lyrical descriptions that have not only music to them, but also shape and weight. They consist of a series of panels that are layered behind one another to create a sense of depth and perspective. Louis, missouri, with his wife, the architect mary gass.
The tunnel is one of my favourite books so ill try to shed some light for you depends what you mean by pick up. The tunnel is the work of william frederick kohler, a professor of history at an unnamed university in the american midwest. This novel flies its colours well before it even begins, starting off with images of the pennants of passive attitudes and emotions. Besides, it would not have been in keeping with the spirit of the book, as gass constantly changed points of reference, which, until i got used to it, was a bit of a nuisance in trying to make heads or tails of anything.
Isolated, he begins digging a tunnel out of the basement where he writes. Jun 07, 2014 all of this is on my mind at the moment because i have recently reread the tunnel by william h. Tunnel books are a form of artist book that tells a story through a threedimensional structure. Gass 05 april 2018 richard nordquist the author of three novels and several volumes of essays and short stories, william h. An easy stepbystep posted on august 27, 2012 june 4, 2015 by zan popp as i was installing the current exhibit in the sabatini gallery, telling stories. The tunnel by gass william h, first edition abebooks. At 91 years of age, gass remains anything but accepting of our world as it is. If you want to go down into the self, youd better go armed to the teeth. He wrote three novels, three collections of short stories, a collection of novellas, and seven volumes of essays, three of which have won national book critics circle award prizes and one of which, a temple of texts, won the truman capote award for literary criticism. There will be the usual grumbling about morality in fiction. Gass while writing the introduction to his magnum opus, a moral history of hitlers germany, a middleaged historian finds himself writing instead a history of the historian himself and secretly digging a tunnel. The tunnel is a dark, big book, without the passion of the european pessimists gass is no strindberg, nor, for all the pseudosympathy for or understanding of the nazis, is he a celine. Kohlers words seem especially resonant today, and their power is undiminished by the fact that their author exists only as a character in a novel by william h. William h gass after completing the manuscript of a book entitled the guilt and innocence of hitlers germany, a famous historian who teaches at a university sits down to write the introduction.
The recognitions, gravitys rainbow, infinite jest, etc. Whether youve loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them. His 1995 novel the tunnel received the american book award. Gasss 1995 novel that took 26 years to write and earned him the american book award of 1996. The metaphorical tunnel doesnt represent an escape route out of anywhere. In this unabridged audio version of the tunnel, william h. Gass fiction has been a secret handshake among brainy readers for years. Like gasss bestknown metafictional work, willie masters lonesome wife lj 12171, this book is filled with puns, limericks, illustrations, and unusual typefaces. Gass 19242017 received numerous awards, including the american book award for the tunnel and the pennabokov lifetime achievement award. Jul 12, 2019 when gasss book was published, in 1995, the cycle of history had revolved to a point more or less directly opposed to the moment in which it was conceived. A distinguished professor in his fifties, william kohler has just completed a book about the third reich, except for the introduction.
Librarything is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers. In terms of an overarching plot, kohler digging the tunnel is about all you get. After 30 years of labor, gass habitations of the word, 1984, etc. Its probably best to abandon any preconceptions of what it might mean when you enter either tunnel as a reader. Apr 07, 2016 stylistically it has been this way from the start in his fictionfrom gasss first published book, omensetters luck 1966, a portrait of a charismatic man in nineteenthcentury ohio, down through the subsequent works, like his vast and venting novel the tunnel 1995, in which a holocaust expert fears that his wife will discover his. Professor kohler is the narrator and main character of the tunnel by william h. He wrote three novels, three collections of short stories, a collection of novellas, and seven volumes of essays, three of which have won national book critics circle award prizes and one of which, a. The genius of william gass by sven birkerts the new york. Thirty years in the making, william gasss second novel first appeared on the literary scene in 1995, at which. Gass, the masterpiece, one must presume, of this 70yearold american master. Formatted as an mp3, the reading fits on three cds. During its twentyfive years as a workinprogress, william h. What starts out as kohlers introduction to an already completed book he has written becomes the ramblings of. Gasss book will be hated, which is a lot to say for a book these days.
Librarything is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers all about descriptions. Gass discusses the evolution and style of his thirtyyearsinthemaking new novel, the tunnel. Gass s the tunnel, and im not sure how i feel about it. Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books youve read. Many, like the one pictured above, are structured to collapse and expand like an accordion.
Nov 06, 2018 the excerpts from the nonlinear novel the tunnel are presented in a different order than in the original book, but that need not concern the previously unacquainted reader. When gasss book was published, in 1995, the cycle of history had revolved to a point more or less directly opposed to the moment in which it. Gass 1999, paperback, reprint at the best online prices at ebay. I first read the novel about 6 years ago, and at that time i was convinced that it was an unmatched marvel. The tunnel is most like gass s last work of fiction, a relatively brief novella titled willie masters lonesome wife 1971, which, like the more ambitious the tunnel, is a firstperson. By being fleeter and more seductively plotted than the tunnel, his 20 novel middle c managed to top it. As a result of this one novel, gass has become one of my favorite authors, with the likes of joyce, pynchon, mann and wallace.
But instead of an introduction, kohler finds himself writing an entirely different book the complete opposite of his original workchaotic and full of lies. The excerpts from the nonlinear novel the tunnel are presented in a different order than in the original book, but that need not concern the previously unacquainted reader. If youre a plotdriven person then im not sure youll find much, however, after the first 150 pages or so the book breaks out into a series of extended vignettes which work like nested short. At one point gass wanted the book jacket designed without any authors name. The height of this form of protest was his longinprocess book the tunnel a 1996 novel about a historian of the nazis who freely admits to an unseemly. At the same time, kohler begins digging a tunnel from his basement. He is the author of seven works of fiction, nine books of essays, and a book of conversations. Paul valery says that somewhere, and it was what came to mind as i began reading the tunnel, this huge and longawaited novel by william h. It includes outtakes, artwork by the author, and twelve philippics descriptions of the novels intention. A 1995 novel predicted trumps america the new york times. Barron argues in his sentenced to sentences that in gasss novel it is lyric poetry rather than fiction or history that triumphs over fascism. The tunnel offers a crushing, deforming view of humanity and history that i was almost completely revolted by. Gass in pdf or epub format and read it directly on your mobile phone, computer or any device.477 1519 1243 1065 925 1050 1184 527 1352 1084 634 1427 569 1366 1615 854 418 337 281 1499 740 1311 813 1266 1382 989 476 90 228 782 63