The Accidental Modernist

March 26, 2010

I’m only about 70 pages into The Book of Basketball, but it’s already quite clear that Bill Simmons is Sholem-Aleichem’s heir to the title of mythologist of the mundane, transforming everyday occurrences into the stuff of legend. (Feel free to substitute Proust for Sholem-Aleichem if that better fits your frame of reference). Haverstam is right: Simmons is something of an accidental modernist. His “fan’s voice” is a unique, stylized version of language on par with Hem or Stein–though completely different–and his use of footnotes is unparalleled as a means for cultivating digressions. Modernism is both William Carlos Williams and Thomas Mann. And now, at a new century’s start, Bill Simmons.

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