Entering [Patrick] White’s sanctum requires a purification ritual. You have to isolate yourself entirely within it, cutting all lifelines to the rest of literature, and pressing on, mortified, into the same estrangement that drove its maker. There are some artists you have to forgive before you can benefit from knowing them. I’ve tried to forgive White for the fact that he probably wouldn’t have liked me, and wouldn’t have cared that I like him. It’s worth it. If you weather the cold plunge, you’ll find a place riven with sudden upsurges of divinity, alive with a truth that I don’t think will grow falser with time.
"Their stories aren’t about seeing through the darkness; they’re about touching the darkness and feeling how substantial it can be. Luckily for any reader who makes the trip to Knockemstiff, Pollock renders this darkness quite substantial indeed. Without ever verging into the supernatural, his brand of homespun grotesquerie achieves moments of genuinely satanic power."
The pleasure of Erickson over Pynchon is how warm and man-to-man his writing remains even at its most dissociative.
"These are rare moments when the ancient and the infinite erupt out of human production — a spacecraft, an artifact, a billboard, and, of course, DeLillo’s own writing. He sets his stories in technological arenas that assert the victory of human reason over universal chaos, and yet, in the crucial religious moment, chaos looms back up, subverting the tools that humans have built to use against it."
As Banks construes it, society’s decision to banish sex offenders into its most unseen corners is yet another form of self-deception, a vast cultural unwillingness to engage with other people, as vast as the Kid’s unwillingness to find a mature, reciprocating partner. Thus, the colony under the causeway is a hiding place for what society does not want to see: it’s a deep, police-enforced lie.