I’m working on The Savage Girl portion of my chapter now–the part that will become the basis of the talk that I’ll be giving at the MLA this December. It’s a funny thing to actually be analyzing a novel in writing again after all these years of preparation, orals, colloquial promises that I would be analyzing books in the near future… And yet. Somehow, despite my best-laid megalomaniacal plans for the greatness of this chapter, the writing itself seems to be coming along in a very mundane way. “Here’s the first time that the word ‘postirony’ appears in Shakar’s novel. Here’s the second. Here’s what it all means.” Hm. It’s better than that, actually, but I find that I can get much more energy out of those passages that I write which are preparation for or building up to the analysis of the book, but when writing about the book itself, well, I feel as if I’m to some degree stringing together quotations. I might as well just write “OK, folks, you’ve read the background, now go read the novel for yourself.” I guess I understand why in many dissertations I’ve read I’ve found myself asking, “OK, this is fine, but is this it?” Here’s my conclusion after four years of English majoring and now four plus years of Ph.D.ing: it can actually be pretty darn hard to write interesting things about books that amount to more than a sophisticatedly articulate recommendation that you go read the book. So: go read The Savage Girl. It’s good. It uses the word postirony. I like the word postirony. I’ll perhaps post portions of my MLA talk in this space when it’s done so you can judge for yourself how successful or unsuccessful it is.