Savage Gods

Two Dollar Radio. Sept. 2019. 142p. ISBN 9781937512859. $14.99. lit;.
What does a writer do when words abandon him? Man Booker Prize finalist and internationally acclaimed novelist Kingsnorth (Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist) wrestles with this question and other profundities in his fourth nonfiction title. Attempting to understand the crises that contribute to his current failure to write, Kingsnorth interrogates language, his relationship to it, and the violence that working with it has inflicted on his psyche. The task is almost impossible, though in the throes of anguish the author produces a book filled with words. But the pain it causes him is palpable to the reader. Again and again, Kingsnorth tests different angles from which to comprehend and understand his dilemma, almost always failing to achieve a satisfactory leverage. These repeated attempts are extraordinary and revealing, even when they read as forced experiments, cop-outs, and unnecessary apologies, ultimately creating tensions among the author, his work, and his readers.
VERDICT Kingsnorth wrote his brilliant first novel, The Wake, in a language he created. This book provides a startling and instructive account of an uncommonly creative consciousness in a state of profound doubt.
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