What are you reading? asks my wife. Oh, just a book. Donald Barthelme, Paradise. It’s about this man in his fifties who takes a break from his job and his marriage, meets three lingerie models in a bar and invites them to move in with him . . .
‘Barthelme’s novel is an instance of non-mimetic referential narrative, which consistently employs culturally codified elements of reality as transitional objects for the construction of its characters’ subjectivities. This mode of referentiality is mirrored on the meta-narrative plane, where the book, by exploiting exterior cultural and literary elements, projects its author’s assessment of the situation of an artist in the postmodern world, and by the same token provokes readings that instead of passively receiving this assessment at face value, use the transitional space of Barthelme’s novel to enter a deconstructionist dialogue with its discourse.’ – Zuzanna Ladyga, ‘Faking the Artificial in Donald Barthelme’s Paradise’, American Studies, vol. XXI.
So that’s all right then.