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Abstract

In his paper, "Liksom's Short Stories and the Ironies of Contemporary Existence," Chris Pawling examines Rosa Liksom's short stories in her volume One Night Stands. Pawling proposes that Liksom's texts can be understood as postmodern pastiches (Jameson) of different literary voices which in turn are couched in an "affect-less" prose that attempt to inhabit the mental universe of the narrator/protagonist without necessarily endorsing any aesthetic or ethical point of view. Liksom's fictional universe is populated by individuals who are alienated from the life of predictable routines and are searching for "action" in scenes of low life in late-night city bars. If there is an overall point of view in these short stories, Pawling argues, it is that of an avant-garde angle which embraces the authenticity of the street and life-on-edge. In this, Liksom's writing exhibits parallels with the American Blank Generation writers such as Kathy Acker, Brett Easton Ellis, and Jay McInerey. Pawling argues that there are a number of contradictions in the aesthetic and ideological outlook of this avant-garde including their supposedly anti-bourgeois perspective that in reality evinces an elitist attitude towards the mass and popular culture with the effect of reinforcement of the distinction of art and an elective distance (Bourdieu) of the writer from the world of "ordinary" emotions and ethics.

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