Tender Buttons (Paperback)
Tender Buttons offers much of what we associate with the modernist Gertrude Stein of "rose is a rose is a rose" fame. Here Stein explores Objects, Food, and Rooms. Objects offers numerous short pieces ostensibly on various objects, Food involves longer "Studies in Description", and Rooms is one long section of description. What is one to make of it ? What one will. It is immediately clear what one is getting into. In the first section, A carafe, that is a blind glass Stein writes that it is: All this and not ordinary, not unordered in not resembling. The difference is spreading. And it only gets more ... complex from there. Yet there is some method to this seeming madness, and some beauty in the pleasure of the language. This is not your normal read -- not a pleasant fiction, not even clear descriptions. Stein forces ideas and different ways of seeing on her readers. It can be off-putting (especially in these impatient times, as such writing requires considerable more patience than most books), but there is something to it. "The teasing is tender and trying and thoughtful," seems to be a fine summary of the book. Not yet placing such a great emphasis on repetition there is a great deal of variety here. Much of it might strike one as bizarre (Salad: "It is a winning cake"), but Stein has a fine ear and a good sense of humour and this slim selection certainly has its enjoyable elements. A different kind of read it can certainly be recommended -- though readers should be aware of what they are getting themselves into.