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Coover, Robert

american maid novel chicago

(US, 1932– )

A resolutely experimental writer, Coover has abandoned the constraints of time and realism. None the less, his concerns remain those emotional and narrative truths which are central to the American novel. His first novel, The Origin of the Brunists, won the 1966 William Faulkner award. Spanking the Maid (1982) details the daily encounter between a maid and her master and the ritual of punishment which unites them. It is a far from simple story, made indeterminate by the author's wilful intellectual gymnastics. Whatever Happened to Gloomy Gus of the Chicago Bears (1987) is similarly complex. Taking 1930s' Chicago, socialism, and American football for its material, it shapes an alternative biography of ex-President Nixon, from which he is of course utterly absent. Coover teaches at Brown University.

John Barth, Angela Carter  AM

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