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Posted December 26, 2010
Polly Frost reassures the reader that she has done her best to ensure that each and every one of the twenty-five humor pieces in With One Eye Open is "entirely free of seriousness". Whereas seventeen of the short pieces and stories were written in the last two years, she has included some earlier pieces as well, dated from 1985 onwards. That Frost takes humor seriously is clearly evident from her telling herself, in private, that her "mini-creations cover a Chekhovian range of subjects and embody a Dostoevskian variety of approaches". Her use of self-parody and irony are clear in her wry consideration of herself in such a light (as we all know, the writings of both Chekhov and Dostoevsky are redolent with the dark despair of the Russian soul, whereas Frost's text radiates the uptown blues ambience of New York, the city which, indubitably, first gave rise to the executive suite-bound angst of such literati as Woody Allen). Akin to her literary mentors, Frost is given to deep exploration of her own psyche, revealing her underlying introspective nature in her continuous undermining of self.
Not only does Frost go to great lengths to poke fun at herself and her own literary endeavors, but she also goes to inordinate lengths to explore the implicit falsifications of the urbane living in an urban society. Frost has come a long way from her first attempts at penning a fictional masterpiece, which, on her presentation to a creative writing class, she claims, only served to elicit an eruption of giggles, and advice from the workshop's instructor that she focus on doing something funny instead. Rather than mincing off in high dudgeon, as many an erstwhile writer is prone to do, after some profound reflection Frost decided to take such sound advice to heart, and, rather than fight the laughter, to invite it instead. And, indeed, her invitation is most appealing.
Posted July 30, 2011
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