Check out my review of Robert Steiner’s Negative Space, a poignant portrait of one man’s emotional disintegration, at Rain Taxi: Review of Books, Online Edition: Winter 2010/2011. Here’s an excerpt:
Negative Space is a portrait of paralysis, a study of stasis, an analysis of the anguish felt by the abandoned. Though the prose is, like the narrator’s postmortem, interminable, it’s still pleasurable, forcing us to follow its twists and turns toward some kind of understanding about what may ultimately be incomprehensible and irresolvable. Taking its title from a term in the artist’s lexicon, which defines the space around and between an image’s subject, the novella explores the space surrounding betrayal, that space moving in and out of focus, often becoming the primary focus, as if it were a version of Rubin’s vase, that famous optical illusion where the vase is supplanted by two faces staring at each other. In fact, this book might have been subtitled “Toward a Syntax of Figure-Ground Reversal,” to be placed on the shelf alongside Steiner’s critical work, Toward a Grammar of Abstraction.