Where The Dog Stars established Heller as a writer with a consistent, wickedly humorous voice, a formidable scene setter, and writer with philosophical underpinnings, this second novel shows those strengths fraying a bit. He’s adopting a voice here that isn’t always his own; he toys with the sentence structures of Hemingway and Raymond Carver, and the effect is a bit clumsy. However in the book’s second half he returns to vestiges of his first novel’s voice, and this is where his story becomes compelling.
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members. Surrealist artworks feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact. Leader André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement.
Color, made up of hue, saturation, and value, dispersed over a surface is the essence of painting, just as pitch and rhythm are the essence of music. Color is highly subjective, but has observable psychological effects, although these can differ from one culture to the next. Black is associated with mourning in the West, but in the East, white is. Some painters, theoreticians, writers and scientists, including Goethe, Kandinsky, and Newton, have written their own color theory.