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August 10, 1998 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1998-08-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Find out how keeping a dream journal can help
you unlock the hidden meaning behind your
dreams when Linda Newman comes to Borders
on Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 7:00 p.m.


August 10, 19987

M.L. Hoekstra's 'Tarsus
",is aivine revelation

Hey, he had money on the fight. Otherwise, Nicholas Cage might have noticed something fishy going on
between this mystery woman (Carla Gugino) and the U.S. Secretary of Defense (Joel Fabiani).
New DePalmaf
doesn't roll 'Snake Eyes'

By Dave Nelson
Daily Arts Writer
October xwill be a good month for the few
and dedicated Mary Lou Hoekstra fans as, on
the anniversary of her death. her final work.
"Saul of Tarsus " will hit
the shelves.
"Saul of Tarsus" is the
L last - and presumable lost
Saul of - installment of
Tarsus Hoekstra's "Loose
Mary Lou Trilogy."
Hoekstra The "Loose Trilogy,"
Farrar. Straus and which includes loekstra's
Giroux first and fourth novels,
"Abaleen" and "Six
Sheets to the Wind," is
not bound together by a
common plot or cast of
characters (as is, for
example, the "Star Wars"
trilogy), but by common-
ality of theme.
Fellow postmodernist and literary critic
David Foster Wallace characterized the first
two installments of-the series as "a wicked'
epistemological tour de force" given a "weird
opacity about it, a narcotized over-earnestness
that's reminiscent of lead-poisoned kids in
Midwestern trailer parks" due to the lack of
completion, the suppression of "Saul of
It was H oekstra herself who suppressed her
fifth and finest novel. Although she was under
contract to finish the trilogy by 1965 when she
completed "Saul" sometime between 1955
and 1963, Hoekstra had become so disen-
chanted with the publishing industry and its
consistent, unauthorized alteration of her
work that she hid the manuscript to "protect it
from publication."
Iloekstra died in 1977, still in litigation for
breach of contract.
"Saul of Tarsus" is based on an historical
personage, a Jewish tyrant of the first century
A.D., who converted to Christianity (with an
attendant name-change) after having a vision
of Jesus while traveling from his home in
Tarsus to Damascus.
Thus Saul became Paul. Hoekstra meticu-
lously mirrors and embellishes this tale in her

character Saul Leab, an ultra-conservative
political pundit (a l6 Rush Limbaugh) and is
parallel persona, political activist Paul 'Lieb.
Hoekstra discusses the duality of man by
encasing both tyrant and saint within the same
protagonist, predating both Maxine Hong
Kingston and Adrienne Kennedy in this
almost schizophrenic multiple-development
of a character.
But Hoekstra does not do this by making
these two opposing forces into one character
(as in the Biblical account). She instead crafts
two interlocking, intertwined tales - two
separate characters unaware that they share
the same corpus.
Hoekstra relates all of this in a hauntingly
Postmodern voice:
"For them, and in that time, it was the
American Dream in blacklight: Every lapdog
rabid, every picket-fence a harrow, every
postman sick-hearted and armed. All of the
priests touched the alter boys, all the cops
were on the make. Satellites hid among the
stars, watching."
The novel's only real fault is that it doesn't
cleanly stand alone. There is always a piece
missing - conceptual bridges developed in
the Trilogy's first two parts and treated as
givens in "Saul."
Although "Saul of Tarsus" was set to paper
more than 30 years ago. Hoekstra captures a
"fin de siecle Part II" sort of melancholic des-
peration that, as we close in on year 2000, is
somehow comforting. It's like your 81-year-
old grandfather joking about paying for every-
thing by credit card.
Nonetheless, her characterization of
Saul/Paul takes a refreshing turn from the
postmodern norm of the "paralyzed" protag-
onists, so run-down by life that any action,
good or bad, is too much effort. Both Saul
and Paul almost glow with violent energy as
they close in on their goals and the con-
frontation between these two men sharing
one body.
Although the novel seems to be constantly
at risk of tumbling into the lame or hokey, it
pulls through with stunning emotional clarity.
Hoekstra walks a fine line, both brilliant and
whimsical. And you won't see the end com-

By Gabe SmIth
Daily Arts Writtl
If you're looking for bravura filmnaking, look
no further than "Snake Ees." This cynical mstery'
thriller set in an Atlantic City
Casino and sports complex is
some of I )irector/Producer
Brian l)ePalma's best work.
Snake Eyes Ironi ally, the one person
that cannot be upstaged tn-
the filmmaking of [DePalma
At showcase is Nicholas Cage, who plays
and Bnarwood Detective Ricks Santoro.
Corrupt and gleeful, Cage
- plays Santoro with an acute
hyperness. "I was made for
. this sever iabs!' he shouts
as he and his best friend.
Navy commander Kevin
Duane ((arn Sinise) attend a
heavyweight boxing match.
Instead of seeing the fight itself. we hear punch
after punch hitting like bullets oft-screen and watch
join o
We h
FUN WITH finte
D fill a
If una

as the Secretary of Defense of the United States is
assassinated in the crowd. Dunne, whose job was to
protect the Secretarv, was away from the scene and
worries to Santoro that Iis career is in jeopardy
Santoro disagrees, telling him to prevaricate a little
on what happened. "It isn't lying You just tell what
you did right. and you leave out the rest."
Still the question remains: Who shot the
Secretary of Defense and why? There were
14,000 fans. or as Santoro says, "14,000 eye-
witnesses!" What Santoro is able to uncover
forces him into one of the most difficult deci-
sions of his life, and goes against everything he
iePalma's filming is what makes this a worth-
while endeavor In exploring this mystery, the cam-
era becomes mobile Ceilings don't seem to exist,
and walls are floatedover as we see the action in the
next room. This technique is ingenious because inti
casino. cameras monitor every square inch of space
DePalma's tilning multiplies the points of view
See SNAKE EYES, Page 11

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