PARODIES OF THE FALL
By Thomas Grissom
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Over the course of several evenings, in a fashionable bar and lounge situated in the foothills at the edge of a large desert city, the narrator tells his strange story. Under the guise of trying to discover the meaning of life as it should be, he instead slowly reveals life as it is. What unfolds is a story about the dilemmas faced by twenty-first-century man, the scientist-technician in the words of the narrator, and as such it becomes the moral autobiography of anyone and everyone. What renders the story provoking and compelling is the peculiar stance adopted by the narrator relative to the events of his story. There is a philosophic and parodic tone to the narrative, behind which the narrator maneuvers, poses, postures, confounds, and gradually reveals his meaning. From his youthful pursuit of truths revealed by science and technology, to his growing alienation and estrangement from society, to his eventual reconciliation with art and the role of the artist, the narrator surveys the cultural landscape of our time. What the reader witnesses is the development of a modern human consciousness. The twists and turns of the narrator’s position are on the surface paradoxical and puzzling. Is he merely an incurable romantic, a cynic or only a realist? The story related by the narrator is fairly straightforward and clear. But what meaning to ascribe to the events revealed by the narrative is posed as a problem for the reader, leaving the reader to ponder at last what, if anything, is resolved. Includes Readers Guide.
Thomas Grissom is Emeritus Member of the Faculty at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where for twenty-two years he taught across a broad range of curricula including Great Books, literature, philosophy, physics and mathematics. Prior to that he was a research physicist and Department Manager at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he had responsibility for the design and development of nuclear weapon components. He resigned his post in 1985 as a matter of conscience, a decision chronicled in three separate accounts: Studs Terkel, The Great Divide; Debra Rosenthal, At the Heart of the Bomb; and Melissa Everett, Breaking Ranks. He is the author of The Physicist’s World, published by Johns Hopkins University Press; four collections of poems: Other Truths, One Spring More, Journal Entries and Neither Here Nor There; a treatise on archery, Principles of Traditional Archery; and two collections of short stories: The Fawn and Other Stories and At the Top of the World and Other Stories, all published by Sunstone Press.
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