About a Mountain — Read It

Since I’m currently reading John D’Agata’s book-length essay, About a Mountain, for an upcoming review, I don’t want to say too much about it. But, I will recommend it most emphatically. Without in any way, shape, or form implying that a style as interesting as that which D’Agata has summoned to write this book is derivative (because it’s not), it’s probably the only thing I’ve read to compare favorably to the energy, humor, and satire with which David Forster Wallace wrote several of the masterful essays collected in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.

Recent Posts

Criticism Isn't Free

CR is dedicated to thoughtful, in-depth criticism without regard to what's commercially appealing. It takes tens of hours each month to provide this. Please help make this sort of writing sustainable, either with a subscription or a one-time donation. Thank you!

You could also purchase one of my acclaimed ebooks.


Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Glad to see you following up on this without disappointment. After you first brought it up, I glanced its way, then sent your link to a former professor who is currently working on a book about Las Vegas and the surroundings. He was quite pleased and bought it right off.

I read it over the weekend and couldn’t put it down. The parts about language were especially fascinating to me. He seems to think on a different level than the rest of us, similar to DFW in that regard.

What are your thoughts on Bock’s review in NYT, where Bock deems his rearrangement of time for dramatic impact unethical?

I’m also curious to hear thoughts about Bock’s review from anyone who’s read “About a Mountain.” After seeing the book recommended a few places, I put it on my wish list. I still intend to get to it but was wondering if Bock’s criticisms rang true with people who’ve spent time with the book.

Regarding Bock:

It’s a fair question. I don’t think it should be dismissed, but nor do I think D’Agata’s compositing of dates is quite as simple as tightening things up for a better narrative hook, as the NYT review has it.

I’ll have to think about it some. I think you could create a plausible defense for it, but at this point I’m not sure that it was necessary.


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2018. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.