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"Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things is a bitter, funny, and moving work of fiction about . . . the way life and art feed off one another—and starve one another too. . . . The lives of these characters are realized with a remorseless energy that I find admirable." (Robert Scholes, Saturday Review 10-23-71)
"There is a truculent intelligence behind it all, one given to outrage and joy. . . . Its power is unmistakable and its design ambitious, the right sort of antidote for the fakery, the foundation men, and the hangers-on in the literary world." (Paul Theroux, Washington Post Book World 11-7-71)
"The book has aged well: The world may look different now and new fashions may prevail but the phony, like the poor, will be with us always. . . . Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things has that air of astonished contempt that keeps true satire fresh forever." (Michael Heyward, Washington Post Book World 12-22-91)
"[T]he author's fury at it all is tempered . . . and augmented with compassion, understanding [and] wit." (Publishers Weekly 11-1-91)
"His purpose is creative, not destructive, even though his creation will destroy some myths and haze any number of people who care to find themselves embodied here. . . . Gilbert Sorrentino has kept a steady hand on this bucking book and neither reader nor character will take over. This is part of the book's refusal to submit to the age of take-over. . . . The novel is also a kind of destruction of fake, skim-surface symbolism. . . . The richness of this book is hard to describe." (Gregory Rabassa, The Nation 8-21-72)
Posted January 25, 2011
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