Summer 2007 • Vol. XXIX No. 3 Nonfiction |

The Wayward, Enormous, Preposterous Self of Wiley Silenowicz, A.K.A. Harold Brodkey

Memories afterward change stuff: books really are mostly about memories afterward and not about what happened so much—they just pretend to that—but they are made of events changed for the sake of the convenience of someone now, for the convenience of memory and in order to have some halfway convincing sense of success. Or it's for apology maybe. It takes nerve to go near real moments—are other people like that or is it just me? (695)   It has been nearly fifteen years since the publication of The Runaway Soul. Harold Brodkey's autobiographical novel, a magnum opus decades in the making, promised and touted and doubted at various points along the way until its nonpublication itself became a matter of no little publicity, is now out of print. The reasons for its failure to catch on are not hard to surmise. The novel is long, demanding, and radical. Its combination of a minimal relation of incident and a maximal focus on the sensations of a single character hardly diffe

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