Cartesian Sonata: And Other Novellas
Authors: Gass, William H.
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Synopsis: From the award-winning author of The Tunnel and Finding a Form--four interrelated novellas that explore Mind, Matter, and God. In the first novella, Gass redefines Descartes' philosophy. God is a writer in a constant state of fumble. Mind is represented by a housewife who is a modern-day Cassandra. And Matter is, what (and who) else but the helpless and confused husband of Mind. In the novella that follows, the concept of salvation is explored through material possessions--a collection of kitsch--as a traveling businessman is slowly lost in the sheer surfeit of matter in a small Illinois town. In another, Gass explores the mind's ability to escape. A young woman growing up in ruralIowa finds herself losing touch with the physical world as she loses herself in the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop. And in "The Master of Secret Revenges," God appears in the form of Descartes' evil demon, Lucifer, as Gass chronicles the life of a young man named Luther and his development from his devilish youth to his demonic adulthood. A profound exploration of good and evil, philosophy and action, filled with the wit and style that have defined the work of William Gass.
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