Saturday, January 15, 2011
A BagelBards Book Review
“What May Have Been”
Letters of Jackson Pollock & Dori G
By Susan Tepper & Gary Percesepe
Cervena Barva Press, Price $15
Reviewed by Paul Steven Stone
“What May Have Been” is an epistolary novel chronicling the passionate clandestine relationship of Jackson Pollock and a younger, Vassar exile named Dori G. Reading at times like a poetic skirmish in the courtship wars, “What May Have Been” has all the color, energy and brilliance—not to mention abstract logic—of one of Pollock’s paint-spattered canvases. The language is rich and (on Pollock’s side) fevered and scatological; the novel’s energy propelled by a heady mixture of raw desire and intimate longing.
Rendered by two writers who clearly enjoy crafting lives and ideas from words, the novel is even more remarkable for the fact that each of the authors gave voice to the character of the opposite sex. Their efforts succeed so well it is impossible to detect one false step or inappropriate allusion in this rigorous literary challenge they set for themselves. And so, throughout the novel and its artfully drawn relationship, the voices ring true.
“What May Have Been” portrays the shadow life of an iconic modern artist through letters fanciful, impetuous and most of all, richly entertaining. It is highly recommended.