Brian Morton The Dylanist: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780060166625

The Dylanist: A Novel

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Sally Burke feels alienated growing up, eventually realizing that she is a "Dylanist"--a rebel whose feelings are an end in themselves--leading to efforts to be of use in the world

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About the Author:

Brian Morton is the executive editor of Dissent magazine and the author of Starting Out in the Evening.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Dissent editor Morton's first novel--a smooth, eloquent, but thoroughly unsatisfying tale of a red-diaper baby who comes of age. Sally Burke is a clever and perceptive girl who suffers a tremendous confusion. The daughter of fiercely committed left-wing activists--her mother a radical freethinker, her father a communist union-organizer--she finds little comfort in their political certainties, but cannot see any plausible way of rebelling against them. So she drifts on, unhappily uncommitted, increasingly depressed, and preternaturally (if rather endearingly) cynical. At school, where she finds herself surrounded by classmates who define themselves through their ambitions, she feels ``roadless.'' At home, growing up in an environment where virtue is equated with sacrifice, she doubts her ability to love. ``Sally knew an eagle had been implanted in her skull and was struggling to break free,'' but, lacking her parents' certitude and her friends' confidence, she feels earthbound and listless. Her sympathies are engaged first by Owen, a young writer whose simplicity and helplessness provide her with an object of devotion--but she is eventually worn down by his childishness. Ben McMahon, her next lover, is another unionizer who recognizes Sally's quandary: she is a ``Dylanist,'' a wanderer for whom feelings and experience are ends in themselves. Through her father's death she gains an awareness of mortality, and concludes that she can continue his struggle in domestic (rather than political) terms by raising a family of her own. This salvation-through-motherhood approach has a hollow ring, however, and seems a forced solution to an unresolved problem. A nicely written tale that badly wants a climax--so badly, in fact, that the author settles for an ending that doesn't fit the story. Enjoyable but seriously flawed. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780425172261: The Dylanist: A Novel

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ISBN 10:  0425172260 ISBN 13:  9780425172261
Publisher: Berkley Trade, 2000
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