Pieces of Soap
With a wickedly witty touch, Elkin’s essays takes readers on a tour of
American life in the 20th century.
Stanley Elkin was one of our great American writers. “A divine exploiter of the idiocies and intricacies of our language,” as John Irving put it, and nowhere is that more clear than this collection of essays, which find Elkin wresting hilarity and heartbreak from the most unlikely of sources.
Stanley Elkin is no ordinary genius of language, laughter, and the irresistible American idiom; he is an ingenious genius–an inimitable sword swallower, fire-eater, and three-ring circus of fecund wit and inexhaustible comic artistry.
Mr. Elkin’s world is a wonderland of language. No writer commands words more artfully than Mr. Elkin at his best. No one else bendsEnglish into such fantastic and fanciful shapes or wrests such comedy from such unlikely material.
—The Wall Street Journal
Elkin is one of America’s great tragicomic geniuses.
Brilliant . . .His sentences are long riffs of jazz; the words swarm and gather; the prose is exuberantly betroped, exhilaratingly de trop.
—The New York Times
Not since James Joyce, perhaps, has there been a better serious funny writer than Stanley Elkin . . .a dazzling master of language.
It’s raw energy that Elkin loves . . . He’s Ahab smashing through the mask with jokes. Grizzly reality is his straight man.
A divine exploiter of the idiocies and intricacies of our language.
How does Stanley Elkin make magic, book after book?Well, sentence after sentence, word after word, is how. He is an irreplaceable treasure.
Pushing the envelope has always been Stanley Elkin’s stock-in-trade . . . .If we didn’t have him to read, we’d need to invent him. But we couldn’t come close.