A piece by Charles Baxter in the New York Review of Books (issue dated February 9, 2012, page 22) reminds me that the unique prose style originated by Pauline Kael is still alive. Here’s a sample:
“In the landscape of no context, one asks, “What’s going on? What is this? Who are these people? In Libra, Lee Harvey Oswald habitually stares out the front of the subway, observing people ‘on local platforms staring nowhere, a look they’d been practicing for years.’ As the perpetually hypnotized observer, he’s as locked into place as they are.”
That last sentence, and its place as the “clincher” in the flow of ideas, is vintage Kael.
Baxter is not alone as a writer of Kaelish: in his first years as film reviewer for the New Yorker, Anthony Lane, Kael’s successor there, wrote largely in Kaelish. More recently, though, the effect has been less noticeable.