Fiction: "Breakup Stories" by Jonathan Franzen.
"Our friend Danni's young husband has been intending, since before he was her husband, to talk about his feelings about having children, but because these feelings consisted mainly of reluctance and aversion, and because Danni, who was a few years older than he, was unmistakeably determined to have a family, this conversation promised to be so unhappy that the young husband still hadn't managed to begin it by the time Danni reached a career plateau and announced that she was ready."
Follow that? Still with us? This is the opening sentence of the very long and completely boring opening paragraph of Franzen's tale.
The best writer the establishment has to offer has no ability whatsoever to hook the reader-- none; nada-- because he has no natural talent as a writer. Call him the Mechanical Man, his talent constructed in a workshop. Maybe he was.
To all undergrounders and demi-puppets reading this: please look at the entire story in this (Nov. 8) issue. It consists of ungodly long paragraphs of dead prose. I can't say if the story ever improves. For me it was unreadable-- the endless relating of boring facts, without relief, about boring people. It might conceivably interest an intellectual clique within a clique. I wouldn't know.
Go look at this dead story. Go quickly to the NEW YORKER museum where it hangs like a dead carcass. It's a clarion call for literary rebellion. The walls of the establishment castle are made of cardboard.