BookBrowse Reviews Some Trick by Helen DeWitt

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Some Trick

Thirteen Stories

by Helen DeWitt

Some Trick by Helen DeWitt X
Some Trick by Helen DeWitt
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  • Published:
    May 2018, 224 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts

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Helen DeWitt's delightfully strange and entirely original first collection of short stories is part farce, part lament on the death of art in commercialized society.

In this erudite collection of 13 stories, Helen DeWitt explores the theme of stymied creativity, particularly as a result of financial and bureaucratic intrusions into the process of making art. Her protagonists include a painter forced to take an odd assignment from a wealthy benefactor when her paintings don't sell, the eccentric author of a children's book series whose agent does not share his affinity for statistics-based math problems, and a musician yearning for independence from under the yoke of recording contract-imposed restrictions.

Some of the stories are linked by characters as well as theme. The son of the children's book author appears in a later story in which he invites a newly arrived, fresh-faced Iowan to move into his Manhattan apartment. In this story, DeWitt cleverly turns the trope of the Midwestern rube on its head, as the Iowan manages to expertly ...

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