John Hawkes - Death, Sleep, and the Traveler - Book Review

  • Published on Jan 29, 2016
  • Death, Sleep, and the Traveler - mid career work by John Hawkes, author of The Cannibal, The Lime Twig, Second Skin, and a stack of other ultramodern / postmodern novels. This book concerns a detached Dutchman tangled up in various ménages à trois. Here I examine Hawkes’ “postmodern”ness, the torturous pleasures of his world, and affinity to artists like Cassavetes and Robbe-Grillet. This here work is one to savor!

Comments • 7

  • Greg Doerr
    Greg Doerr 9 months ago +1

    I've read this book many times, since I was in my twenties, and I am in my early fifties...this one and along with all of his other novels, and all of his early short works and that are absurd and dream-like (The Owl and The Goose On The Grave, and such ilk). And he is, god love him (and who might exist), is a writer who always stood back and who always wrote the opposite of those writers who were his contemporaries ... and as thus his writings are buried in post-Freudian symbolism, and in Russian and in Latin and In traditional Japanese "circular logical symbolism, and that is a snake that is eating its tail and returning back to from where it came; and that were things of dark shady literature which nobody else could touch with their theoretical ten foot poles on those deep and muddy subjects of being human and that no other writers of his cerebral calibre (But William Gaddis, who wrote pamphlets for the United States Government, and who in his spare time of dark thoughts of bright thinking wrote impossibly all of his beautiful words!, much longer, and richer and deeper novels of The Human Being who is against the ropes and odds of chance: 1 gold-diamond book, worth every 20 years it took to write it!!). You just need to read to enjoy him, John Hawkes. He is an impossible writer to explain to other people who" just want to read a good book".... Thank you for this thoughtful and candid and honest review on a book, that has seen very little reading, and that is much less sad, than it deserves, than it deserves to be hot-pop, to understand then the unknown mind of a bent and of a self-centered mind of a bleeding heart narcissist who hates being cheated on by his out-walking wife with her beautiful luggage, but ho-hum.... Thank you!

    • PaperBird
      PaperBird  9 months ago

      Thanks for the comment. Hawkes sits well in memory and some days occupies my favorite writer position, at least when it comes to tenacity of vision. In fact some other writers I’d normally pass over I've instead found interesting, knowing that they were once disciples of Hawkes, just to see how his influence gets refracted through their works.

  • Sean Erasmus
    Sean Erasmus Year ago +1

    Travesty is really good; every sentence is perfectly crafted.

    • PaperBird
      PaperBird  Year ago

      yeah, that plus the darkness of his material, really love it

  • Cole
    Cole 2 years ago +2

    Have you read Travesty by him? The one thats all an allusion to Camus. I really enjoyed it

    • Cole
      Cole Year ago +2

      Yea the car one. The Lime Twig blew my mind and for the first time all year I read two books in a row by him. I am probably about to pick up Bartholomew Fair by Eric Basso which is supposed to be inspired by John Hawkes.
      I just cant believe some of the stuff Hawkes manages to do with a sentence. I will always think back to that one scene in The Lime Twig where the wife gets beat on the bed. So brutal yet beautiful

    • PaperBird
      PaperBird  2 years ago +1

      that's the car one, right? i recall reading it, it was part of a 3 novel collection/edition that also contained A Lime Twig and Second Skin. his work is soooo good