Hatchet Job of the Day
THE STREET SWEEPER, Elliot Perlman’s follow up to Three Dollars and Seven Types of Ambiguity, is a big brick of a book which deals with some weighty issues. David Gates in the New York Times refused to be cowed:
Any beginning writer could find both instruction and inspiration in Elliot Perlman’s new novel, “The Street Sweeper.” If it were tricked out with commentary in the margins — in fact, now that I’ve finished marking it up, anyone’s welcome to take my copy — it could serve as a textbook on how not to write fiction. At the same time, it gives the lie to those killjoy teachers who tell you that no reputable publisher will touch your work if you don’t learn your craft. This 600-plus-page epic turns out to have only a novella’s worth of story and substance: the rest is repetition, over and over, of basic information about who the characters are, where they are and what’s going on, long expository and hortatory speeches that no real person would ever deliver and the padded, ping-ponging dialogue beloved of amateur writers.
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