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Greek Tragedy in Manhattan

- Abstract

To review Christopher Hacker’s debut novel in the conventional manner—introducing the characters, summarizing the plot, then weighing in with critical judgment—would do this stunning, unsettling book a tremendous disservice. The Morels must be experienced to be appreciated, if indeed appreciated is the proper word; it is a harrowing tale of a damaged soul struggling with his past and at the same time the portrait of a monster who inflicts devastating harm in the name of art. The novel itself is laced with philosophy, literary theory, and moral questions. It concerns a troubled genius named Arthur Morel who writes a novel about a troubled genius named Arthur Morel, as told by a hapless sidekick whose name (like Hacker’s own) happens to be Chris.

About the Author

Fernanda Moore, who reviews fiction regularly for Commentary, last wrote for us about Philipp Meyer’s The Son.