Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Rudy Wurlitzer Renaissance.

"There is something of a Rudy Wurlitzer renaissance going down in the pop culture zeitgeist; not only through the Criterion releases [Walker; Two Lane Blacktop] but also through a well-deserved re-examination of Wurlitzer's long-forgotten work as a masterful novelist."

So says Rodger Jacobs in his thoughtful interview with the author for PopMatters. Jacobs approaches some seminal works, such as the film Wurlitzer co-directed with Robert Frank, Candy Mountain, and his classic novel, Quake (which we'll be reissuing Fall '09 in a comp edition with the equally nihilistic Flats). Jacobs continues:

"[The Drop Edge of Yonder is] a rousing adventure tale that is far more compelling than any narrative the reluctant guru from Lowell, MA, could have arrived at."

1 comment:

Rodger Jacobs said...

And thank you, Eric, for bringing Rudy back into the mainstream (or at least the fringes) where he deserves to be.

As I mentioned in the article, Rudy Wurlitzer was an early and seminal influence on my own spotty but reliabale career as a professional writer and I believe that his works will live on long after John Irving's attempts at reinventing Charles Dickens in America are laid to rest (not that I didn't enjoy "The World According to Garp.")

As a novelist, Rudy, like all the masters, uses a formula that's a sure-fire success, artistically, any way you play it: Create a situation in the first act (A mountain man is cursed to roam between the worlds of the living and the dead, for instance) and then spend the rest of the novel exploring how he got that way and how he can get himself out, totally extricated from his existential plight. Rather Kafka-esque literary terrain when you think about it, making it no small coincidence that Rudy's old friend Phillip Glass invited him to write the libretto for "In the Penal Colony."