Genuinely curious: of the negative reviews of Anne Carson's work, is there one written by a critic who is not a dullish white male?
— Michael Nardone (@mdnardone) April 10, 2014
Despite calling the language in Anne Carson's Red Doc> occasionally "stunning," Erin Lyndal Martin feels the book is deeply flawed—an attempted epic whose good moments are "overshadowed by pretension of form and over-reaching of the whole project."
But are these decisions about characters' names, these variations in form, really anything more than self-indulgent stabs at literary immortality? Carson goes to great pains to push the limits of form but fails to give her characters much in the way of individual personalities. Unlike other poets who experiment with form, Carson's experiments fail to pay off or actualise the desire to write a contemporary epic.
Carson ends on an open note; one that suggests G and Sad could appear again, maybe again under different names and different forms. Despite what often feels like the characters' lack of depth, it would be nice to check in on them again in a few years. Hopefully, by then, Carson will focus on what she does best and leave the pretentious form and confused narrative structure behind.