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Posted August 12, 2005
Trance is a vividly imagined, brilliantly written, darkly intelligent, and devastatingly satirical examination of the dissipation of 60's values and the commencement of the Me-First era of the 70's that carries forward until the present day. An epic book, Trance carries very little fat on its frame. Each sentence is packed with an unforgettably vivid image, each page shimmers with revelation. The numerous characters are explored with depth, complexity, and occasionally surprising empathy. Despite its length, Trance is a page-turner, too, with edge-of-the-seat scenes of suspense and the compelling detail of a police procedural. And yet this is a highly adventurous work of art as well, with its surprises (shifts in tense and point of view, highly cinematic renderings of certain scenes, entertainingly digressive set-pieces, intertextual and popcultural references, subtle typographic play) integrated into the text so expertly one hardly notices the 'experimental.' At the end, the reader realizes that the story of 'Patty Hearst' (Alice Galton, in this version) is a mere pretext on which Sorrentino drapes this narrative coat of many colors, a device through which he depicts and satirizes the seismic disturbances upsetting American culture during the 70's, the bankruptcy of cheap revolutionary rhetoric, the meaning and depth of identity itself. Trance is a masterpiece, powerful and exuberant and beautiful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 2, 2005
Trance is a fictional retelling of the Patricia Hearst/Symbionese Liberation Army saga. The author deftly recreates the mid-seventies: the muddy politics of the SLA, the bemusement and malaise of the American public, even quirky little details of everyday life (remember flash cubes?) and all without a hint of nostalgia. Although the reader has to cope with ever-shifting points of view, the story is engaging even if you 'know how it ends.' I started the book and put it aside. Once I picked it up again, I realized that the characters had wormed their way into my awareness and I absolutely couldn't put it down after that.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.