I do not know if the NYT guy got a different edition than I – but I wouldn’t call the thin-cotton cased boards that form the covers of these books ‘luxurious.’
It’s more ‘respectful,’ a minimum effort to provide a physical presence for something the author and publisher both want to sell at a not-too-extravagant price.
Although $100 for seven voumes will certainly seem like an absurdist and luxuriant toll, it is not. Just check what new retail for the single volume of the most recent Harry Potter book was, and come on back to chat.
I’ll be around all day, playing this here banjo.
The author of the review dismisses the work, in the end, as ‘a work of grand obsession that, for too often, lies dead upon the page,’ citing overwritten prose and the (in this book) unplumbed reasons for Vollmann’s compulsion to ‘to put the body in harm’s way.’
I’m not to be dissuaded from the work on this basis, as I have a thesis about Vollmann’s fascination, and have learned to read him at his most empurpled. I certainly promise more here upon this work after (or given the length, as) I complete it.