LEVIN | The Yellow Deli: A Response to The Sun’s Dining Department

I was thumbing through The Cornell Daily Sun’s print edition the other week and landed on The Yellow Deli: A Cornell Sun Review. Never have I been so startled by a food review. Many Cornellians who oppose bigotry know by now to avoid the Yellow Deli, a local eatery owned and operated by the Twelve Tribes — an alleged white supremacist religious cult — but apparently one food critic at our newspaper does not. To him, The Yellow Deli serves such remarkable fare that he had to go there twice and pen two columns about the restaurant (the second of which is the subject of this op-ed).

The Meaning of Life in Butler’s 300,000,000

Blake Butler’s 300,000,000 will churn stomachs, induce headaches and inspire bewilderment and consternation. For the diligent reader who pushes past its exhaustive 455 page span, it will provoke such a range of emotional responses that one would not be wrong to think it able to cull the entire spectrum of conceivable sensations. In fact, this is exactly what the novel intends to do with nearly every sort of living experience packed into its grafting language and phantasmagoric plot. After finishing the book, the usual questions ran through my mind: What did Butler try to accomplish here? Was he successful?