This is an essai --as Montaigne meant it to be, a try-out, in American sports jargon. A try-out of ideas on a particular subject. In each of the ten posts that encompass this piece are ideas, asides, comments, critical notes that do not deserve to sit on a screen in monastic self-communing solitude.
They beg for engagement, for expansion, for inclusion into a general dialog on our descent into near-illiteracy.
I'm tempted (but I won't give in to the impulse) to post each of the ten segments as quotes here, in ten successive posts, last first, so the reader can go through them first to last.
Instead, I'll respond with brief comments and ask you to please, go to James Tata's Blog, and read this essay... and come back here and tell me what you think.
Part 3: Richard Powers.
-2006: Richard Powers (The Echo Maker)--A writer in the realist mode, not just in style but even in the choice of his frequent subject matter, science and technology and their human ramifications.
I think you miss on this one. Goldbug Variations? Galatea 1.2? Plowing the Dark? These are realist novels? Tata, I think you need another category--meta-realism? Even with Hazzard--who on the surface is a realist, as say, William Trevor is a realist--crosses into an altogether different level of reality on the prose alone. More evident in Transit of Venus than The Great Fire, and with Trevor--Two Lives, especially Reading Turgenev, takes "realism" into something much closer to Formalism ( weak argument for sure... but the irredeemably "realist" readers on Solon (or was it Readerville?) a few years back, hated Reading Turgenev, and their every argument spoke to its formalist and anti-realist elements.)
This is not to disagree with your thesis, but argue for some fine tuning.
I can't tell you how happy your essay made me--oh my god, I thought-- I've found a compatriot! A fellow Expat! This dude gets it!
So why make it so damn hard to TALK!