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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Tom Berger - The God of Parataxis and Meliorism

Ladies and Gentlemen...
*canned claps and flash of multi-colored laser beams all around*

... let me take this opportunity, tonight in this episode of Authors Anonymous, to introduce to you Thomas Berger.

My long-standing burning ambition to introduce to a new audience in Chennai and the visitors to the shores of my Blogpore is today getting fructified eventually. For Thomas Berger may sound Germanic, may be of Austrian origin (migrants to the U.S. of A though), may be an American citizen... yet is not one of those hulla-balooed litterateurs of the Land of Rape and Honey (or Hope and Money as is fulsomely described!).THOMAS BERGER IS A POST-MODERNIST!

*Ouch, am thrusting my balled right hand fingers desperately and hurriedly into my half-agape mouth*

I realise I have uttered the unutterable. POST-MODERN! What the heck is it? A style of art practised since modernism became a passe? A genre of art that sprung up post-Modernism? Or a reactionary movement of art to Modernism? All of these and more. But more importantly a delightful, easy-going, sometimes frivolous and invariably hilarious -ism that is oft-maligned as inchoate and incomprehensible by the High-priests and -esses of Purity in Art, Simplicity in Reading and Writing, Readily spoon-feeding intelligence content! Well, neither are my breed of believers of Post-Modernism wrong, nor or they right. Each unto his own. And this is not a platform for discussing Post-modernism. Back to Berger

*the studio audience are getting impatient*

Thomas Berger is one of that total-tonsured non-chalantly leaning at the edge of the bar-counter literary cowboy breeds with their sharp-shooting word-gun slung obstrusively and eyes observantly gazing at the flitters and drifters to the Literary Bar of this Universe. And yet, makes no garbled noise, draws no unnecessary attention, writes with total faith in the believability and unhopeless nature of the world. He is what you may call a MELIORIST: a person who believes in the view and doctrine that "the natural tendency of the world is toward improvement and that human effort can aid the process." About his parataxia or the ability to arrange related phrases without connectives in his writing, more later.Let me get you a better picture with a couple of writers I found handy to describe Berger better to you. Am shamelessly reproducing them here. None of that is mine. And I credit them with bylines!

Perhaps, then, move on to my presentation of one of my top-three favourite Berger fictions - Who is Teddy Villanova? And here I deal with Post-modernism unabashedly, detective fiction with the vigour of an arduous zealot of the Holy Grail (read Mary Magdalena. I knew there is always a woman behind!) and Berger's writing style at large.

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