I was actually wondering how you'd react to my review, Chris. I've always respected your opinion, so you can imagine the amount of time I spent wondering if I'd missed something out when I kept seeing your comments on TDE's pages.
I am, however, going to stand by what I say in this review. It's been my experience that literary fiction has to have either good style or good story to drive home a point (or idea, or concept), and I don't think TDE has either.
The issue I have with the writing is that I think Seth tries too hard to impress. And he comes off sounding like a pretentious hack, at particular points in the story. It's just that ... writing beautifully takes practice. You can't just squeeze words out and expect them to blend with each other. Seth doesn't yet have this ability; he has yet to figure out how to play the cadence of word-sounds to best effect. And there's the issue of consistency. I've to admit to personal experience here: I've fallen into the same trap of trying to sound good (and failing), and it'll certainly take a bit more time before he gets there.
/Digression/: Speaking of wordplay, Gavin's comparison of cheeseburger and fine steak just about gave me an orgasm. /End of digression/
I do not believe that an idea in itself renders the project exemplary. There are many ideas that can be taken apart and dissected and analyzed. Indeed, in the scope of literature, I'd say that what Seth is doing is highly simplistic, and not even very well at that. We don't have to look far for what good literature can be - some of the best allegories have innumerable layers to them (off the top of my head, Lord of the Flies is about the evil in men, and yet there are certain passages where Golding invokes sexual language to describe non-sexual acts. There is a huge amount of layered themes, and the language and symbology to go along with it is ... amazing).
Your argument with Tolstoy is an interesting one, but I don't think it has much relevance to what I'm trying to say in my review. Your argument is about editing (being painful - but then again when is editing ever fun?), my argument is that when you set the story on the page it is best if you enjoy doing it. And by and large the impression I get from TDE is 'I. Must. Impress. I. Must. Impress.' Compare that to Animal Farm, where it seems as if Orwell had the time of his life making fun of Stalin.
In the end, however, TDE is just 27 chapters long. Everything I say here and in my review might be very, very wrong, if Seth decides to rewrite or if he completes the blook in consummate fashion. Whichever route he takes, I pray he does a good job of it.
@Gavin: Thanks. On a side note, you're a lit major, I'd like to know what you think of TDE's writing. And also what Steinbeck-statements are really called, because I've been searching for a long time, and I can't find the name.