In a Savage World

This latest volume of George Garrett’s stories and sketches is proof that the old fox has not forgotten how to raid our American cultural henhouse without running away with a few plump chickens.  Chronicles readers should not have to be told that Garrett, a long-time contributing editor to this magazine, is the master of several literary genres.  In three books set in the early 17th century, Death of a Fox, The Succession, and Entered From the Sun, he practically reinvented the historical novel as a serious literary form, and, among his short fiction, there are tales of such perfection as Maupassant only dreamed of writing.  As a teacher, he has inspired many serious writers across the country.  Though Garrett is admittedly “getting on in years” and afflicted by maladies that only he can make seem funny, he has not lost his ability to surprise the reader into understanding.

George Garrett’s fiction is marked by several characteristics.  Most obviously, there is his fondness for multiple points of view and multiple voices, a technique that has influenced several disciples, such as Madison Smartt Bell.  More successfully than the most avant-garde postmodernists, Garrett has been able to incorporate our omnipresent popular culture into his writing, without ever (or hardly ever) descending to the trivial level of New York brat-pack writers. ...

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