Yeah, I probably went a little over the top on that last post. Of course, Swofford is not a robot in his writing and publishing choices. I just think it’s interesting that for all of the talk about the rise of the memoir, nothing has changed much. The novel is still the ultimate sign of literary success.
Interestingly, I searched for other reviews of Exit A and couldn’t find any nearly as damning as the NYT one. Most were more along the lines of “a good effort, intriguing novel, but shows signs of first novel inexperience.” None could resist the urge to discuss how good Jarhead was.
And I found this quote from Swofford in an interview: “A memoir is a really particular form—and there is nothing that happened in my life that was quite as crazy and incredible as being in the Marine Corps. A novel allowed me much more—to inhabit the character of a military general, a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl as they grew.”