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A Poet as Guest at a Party of Misfits [US]:
These more appealing aspects of "Specimen Days," however, are completely buried beneath a heavy lacquer of self-conscious writerly effects. Chief among these superfluous devices is the author's clumsy invocation of Walt Whitman in all three stories. Although Whitman is presumably employed to underscore the author's musings about the cyclical nature of existence and the evolving state of America, he never feels like a natural fit for this novel: the poet's optimism and utopian yearnings stand in sharp contrast to Mr. Cunningham's dark view of American life, just as his tireless self-promotion stands in sharp contrast to the solitary, inward lives of these stories' characters.
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