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. Gasss 1995 novel that took 26 years to write and earned him the american book award of 1996. 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. If you want to go down into the self, youd better go armed to the teeth. 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. The moral questions posed loom large and gass presents them well but not everyone will want to hear them.
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. Formatted as an mp3, the reading fits on three cds. Gass, the masterpiece, one must presume, of this 70yearold american master. Le tunnel by william h gass and a great selection of related books, art and collectibles available now at. 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. What starts out as kohlers introduction to an already completed book he has written becomes the ramblings of.
As a result of this one novel, gass has become one of my favorite authors, with the likes of joyce, pynchon, mann and wallace. Barron argues in his sentenced to sentences that in gasss novel it is lyric poetry rather than fiction or history that triumphs over fascism. 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. Debra di blasis gass pain says the tunnel suffocates in its similes and does not make its narrator wicked enough. His 1995 novel the tunnel received the american book award. 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. St louis postdispatch the us author william h gass, who explored the boundaries of fiction in novels such as the tunnel and. Gass 19242017 received numerous awards, including the american book award for the tunnel and the pennabokov lifetime achievement award. During its twentyfive years as a workinprogress, william h. The tunnel by gass william h, first edition abebooks. Even a reader willing to endure its length and its narrators unrelenting bitterness must overcome. Gass discusses the evolution and style of his thirtyyearsinthemaking new novel, the tunnel. Tunnel books are a form of artist book that tells a story through a threedimensional structure. But im not really sure that i love it and im worried that not much is going to.
Many, like the one pictured above, are structured to collapse and expand like an accordion. 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. Gass, 97815647827, available at book depository with free delivery worldwide. Like gasss bestknown metafictional work, willie masters lonesome wife lj 12171, this book is filled with puns, limericks, illustrations, and unusual typefaces.
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. Librarything is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers all about descriptions. Its probably best to abandon any preconceptions of what it might mean when you enter either tunnel as a reader. Gass 1999, paperback, reprint at the best online prices at ebay. After 30 years of labor, gass habitations of the word, 1984, etc. Gass died on december 6, 2017 at the age of ninetythree. Exploring books arts, i was taken with the tunnel book on display. The author of three novels and several volumes of essays and short stories, william h. 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. 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. Gass s mammoth magnum opus became a legend of the literary world, the sasquatch of contemporary american fiction. The moralists have condemned the work as being immoral, as though literature has some narrow role to preach what is. Gass discusses the evolution and style of his thirtyyearsin the making new novel, the tunnel, finally published this month.
Gass fiction has been a secret handshake among brainy readers for years. A distinguished professor in his fifties, william kohler has just completed a book about the third reich, except for the introduction. At the same time, kohler begins digging a tunnel from his basement. Flawless first edition hardcover copy with flawless dust jacket. The genius of william gass by sven birkerts the new york. Apr 01, 2005 i was drawn into the tunnel and could not escape its disturbing reality. William howard gass was an american novelist, shortstory writer, essayist, critic, and philosophy professor. 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. Noted for his experimental use of language, gass has been called the finest prose stylist in america. In this unabridged audio version of the tunnel, william h. What you were to be holding in your hands was, presumably, the tunnel itself, a burrowing into blackness.
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. Isolated, he begins digging a tunnel out of the basement where he writes. It includes outtakes, artwork by the author, and twelve philippics descriptions of the novels intention. Jun 07, 2014 all of this is on my mind at the moment because i have recently reread the tunnel by william h. Gass was a professor of philosophy at washington university. 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. Gasss the tunnel, whatever its virtues, is not an inviting book. Gass, himself, reads his universally acclaimed novel in its entirety. They consist of a series of panels that are layered behind one another to create a sense of depth and perspective. Librarything is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers all about the tunnel by william h.
At 91 years of age, gass remains anything but accepting of our world as it is. The tunnel is one of my favourite books so ill try to shed some light for you depends what you mean by pick up. Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books youve read. 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. All of this is on my mind at the moment because i have recently reread the tunnel by william h. Louis, missouri, with his wife, the architect mary gass. Thirty years in the making, william gasss second novel first appeared.
The metaphorical tunnel doesnt represent an escape route out of anywhere. 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. Gass 05 april 2018 richard nordquist the author of three novels and several volumes of essays and short stories, william h. The tunnel offers a crushing, deforming view of humanity and history that i was almost completely revolted by. Gass s the tunnel, and im not sure how i feel about it. 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. I was drawn into the tunnel and could not escape its disturbing reality.
July 14, 2019 pages 629644 were bound into the book inverted. By being fleeter and more seductively plotted than the tunnel, his 20 novel middle c managed to top it as a savage. 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. 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. However, it is in his longest work of fiction, the tunnel, that gass expands his concerns to their fullest extent. Gass in pdf or epub format and read it directly on your mobile phone, computer or any device. Gass pdf genial ebooks download the ebook the tunnel william h. By being fleeter and more seductively plotted than the tunnel, his 20 novel middle c managed to top it. 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. Professor kohler is the narrator and main character of the tunnel by william h. The recognitions, gravitys rainbow, infinite jest, etc. 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. 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.
His 20 novel middle c won the 2015 william dean howells med. 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. I first read the novel about 6 years ago, and at that time i was convinced that it was an unmatched marvel. Between chapters, kohler pauses to dig an escape tunnel through the basement wall as his wife waits patiently upstairs. Gasss book will be hated, which is a lot to say for a book these days. 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. This novel flies its colours well before it even begins, starting off with images of the pennants of passive attitudes and emotions. There will be the usual grumbling about morality in fiction. 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. That is the operative metaphor of this 652 page book, yet in only a few of its many chapters is the actual. Librarything is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers.
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. Even a reader willing to endure its length and its narrators unrelenting bitterness must. At one point gass wanted the book jacket designed without any authors name. In terms of an overarching plot, kohler digging the tunnel is about all you get. The tunnel is the work of william frederick kohler, a professor of history at an unnamed university in the american midwest. From a simple narrative idea gass creates a complicated internal odyssey. William howard gass july 30, 1924 december 6, 2017 was an american novelist, shortstory writer, essayist, critic, and philosophy professor. Thirty years in the making, william gasss second novel first appeared on the literary scene in 1995, at which.1093 520 1540 578 421 1304 1009 1141 21 992 691 1114 1208 1305 396 176 715 1303 316 515 1329 1442 1525 1242 372 496 973 289 346 1334 583 791 1357 1064 1169 313 240 389 64