Sunday, October 17, 2010
Imprisoned behind the camera's lens
Though it does not seem to be up yet at the Toronto Star's website, there is an excellent review of A.J. Somerset's Combat Camera in today's paper. Finding the Toronto Star anywhere around Emeryville Ontario is next to an impossible task, but due to my carefully cultivated network of informers -- including the author of Combat Camera himself -- I've managed to get my hands on the review, and will give you a quick tase of it here. Should the Star eventually post the whole thing online I'll make sure I post a link to that as well.
Ryan Bigge, the author of the review, writes:
Throughout the novel, Somerset alternates between the immediate and blunt trauma inflicted upon civilians in war zones and the slower-acting but no less injurious actions of a culture lacking in modesty. ... Somerset is a confident, gifted writer .... able to seamlessly switch between dialogue and Zane's internal monologue as he darts between grim horror and grim comedy. He also avoids the arid claustrophobia endemic to novels where much of the action takes place within the main character's mind.
But the most satisfying aspects of this novel involve Somerset's refusal to make obvious the numerous parallels between photography and fiction ... Such observations offer an ongoing argument between the camera lens and keyboard, with the novel eventually revealing the strengths and limitations of both.