Pulphead Essays Summary

Stylistically, Sullivan is erudite and with-it without being overly flashy or self-conscious.

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One, it’s incredible that some lady played a ram’s horn right in front of JJS as he arrived at Creation, but what makes that detail work, and what makes this an essay — and not, say, a tweet — is the orange Datsun; most writers, in their eagerness to get to the horn, would have skipped the Datsun. And — and I’m sorry to go on and on — twenty-three pages into this essay, which is a blisteringly fast 40-page read, JJS finds a new gear and pulls the rug out from under us with a personal revelation that throws everything that came before, and that comes after, into a completely new light.

Two, rather than simply stunning us with this detail, JJS has the characteristic grace to tell us that he, too, was stunned by the horn. Third thing: you can absorb all of the above, RV included, in a single two-page spread of (pp 8-9). (JJS would never mix three metaphors like that in one sentence, but you get what I mean.) There are other writers (not many) who are as funny as JJS, and others (even fewer) as smart, but those writers tend to use humor and smarts as defenses.

Those who enjoy exceptional writing and journalism can find much to like in "Pulphead." The "Mr.

Lytle" piece is exquisitely nuanced and honest, about growing up and growing old.

He does everything I wish I could do as an essayist.

The hunt would have been easier if I’d had JJS’s new essay collection, which comes out this week.

It's fair to say "character" because a writer as talented and careful as Sullivan is fully aware of how much of himself he is presenting, and at what angle.

To what degree the Sullivan in "Pulphead" matches the real writer is unimportant.

His sentences are clean, his dialogue is sharp and his leads usually are excellent.

" I don't know, but I'd like to find out.


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