Friday, July 13, 2007

Book Awards

I saw this on the interlink two months ago, and I've just been saving it because, although I dislike MFA graduates in a way that would surprise most people, given I have a master's in writing, the little bit of me that clings to Minnesota nice finds it difficult to criticize anyone, even if it's not that serious a criticism.

I graduated with this person. She was an MFA, I was a MALS. During our graduation dinner she read part of her novel to be as it had won an award for being the (or one of the) best thesis for the year, and all I could think at the time was "This sounds exactly like Geek Love." Apparently it didn't sound so much like Geek Love that she was excluded from being nominated for a Minnesota Book Award. I quote: "Patti Frazee received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre at the University of Nebraska/Kearney and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Writing at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received the "Outstanding Thesis in Fiction" at Hamline for her work on Cirkus."

Her novel didn't sound a little like Geek Love, it sounded almost exactly like Geek Love. For a while, I pondered whether I was just annoyed with yet another MFA student (you would not believe how many of them asked me why I was still in MALS, and didn't I know that I needed an MFA to be taken seriously as an "artist"...come on, you're nothing without an MFA, why don't you switch into MFA? You must not really like writing, because if you did, you'd switch to MFA? Look...MFA...beautiful, ephemeral, delicious, individuals, artists.. MALS...fuckwads who shouldn't be in a writing program because they don't mean it, they're shills..are you a shill...you're a shill, because if you weren't, you'd be an MFA... You might think I'm exaggerating, that it was in my head, but this is almost verbatim...it's so close. And I know MFAs I like, so it's not all MFAs that I have a problem with, I'm trying to point out how obnoxious it was where I was studying), and then I decided, no, it sounds like Geek Love, almost exactly. Apparently, I'm not the only one who felt it deserved comparison...

Amazon did.

Metro Weekly did.

And Edge Providence which said, "All in all, Cirkus is disappointing and disjointed. There isn’t a single character both real enough and likable enough to hold on to. In the end, I would rather have spent my time re-reading Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn, an amazing novel from the early 1990’s that utilizes many of the same tropes as Cirkus, but in original and powerful ways."

So read Geek Love. I feel I should support a fellow graduate, but if you're going to read this book, read the version worth reading.

1 comment:

kyle said...

I always wondered why I couldn't take you seriously as an artist. There was always this nagging doubt in the back of my head "Yes, Scott is a good writer," I would think, "but an artist? I think not..." Now it all makes sense! ;)