With Erasure, he has produced a multilayered, tightly written novel that refuses to equivocate. It’s a funhouse of manipulated reflections, lives viewed through screens and lenses. The story winds through cutaways and short stories, pieces of Greek chorus conversations between philosophers and artists, world leaders--all alternate prisms glimpsing family, academia, identity and pop culture ... While much is played for laughs, Erasure is a trenchant examination of the labels and assumptions that the outside affixes on others, and that many, in turn, unquestioningly affix on themselves ... It’s a fluid, unwieldy world Everett chooses to embrace and ultimately reconstruct on a page, one dominated, finally, by complex themes.
The satire – the well-made story – and the equally well-made parody it depends on are only part of Erasure: distractions fly off in all directions ... Erasure is designed to feel like a novel, and Everett uses the whole box of novelistic tricks. The dialogue is disjointed: people are characterised by the questions they choose not to respond to ... Everett’s unfaultable novelistic techniques are performances, but they don’t aim to dazzle. They are modes he speaks in temporarily, like the modes (gangsta, streetwise kid) Monk has tried to speak in, and they take their place among the more spectacular ventriloquising performances scattered through the book.
Everett's subject is serious, but his tone, social observations and stylistic inventiveness reach for the bleakest comedy. Erasure is a sly work, not easily described, though what it's for and what it's against are always clear. The narrative is allusive, thickly ironic and includes different texts, various textures. It is a novel that builds and then surprises ... Monk also says that he is usually put off by stories that have a writer as the main character. But in Erasure he, the post-structuralist black author who isn't funky enough for the market, will tell his story his way. It has two parallel strands: the disintegration of his family and an explosive crisis in his writing life ... Ma Pafology is only one of the texts or voices that give to Erasure an intriguing layered quality. Everett presents swathes of the paper on Barthes that Monk gives to the Nouveau Roman Society, with sample footnotes about hermeneutic codes.