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Marjorie Baumgarten’s “Out of the Furnace” a Runaway Locomotive

In response to Marjorie Baumgarten’s 512‑word review of Out of the Furnace on Austin Chronicle

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Run-ons are rampant and periods rare in this overly-verbose diatribe from author Marjorie Baumgarten. “Out of the Furnace” is what happens when the fires of one’s heart are stoked to the point where it consumes them and any thing they produce, burning it up from the inside out.  

What could have been an interesting, comprehensive and concise assessment of a riveting subject turns into a meandering, over-stated rant meant more to emphasize the author’s impressive verbosity than critique it’s subject matter. A reflective pause or two would have welcome in these passages. But no rest for the wicked apparently. The author chugs on like an old car with the pedal floored until the engine gives out from overheat. The result is a messy, ugly car wreck of a piece that fails to convey anything of value to an exhausted reader.

As one attempts to make sense out of the carnage on display here, one cannot help but wonder if Marjorie Baumgarten is a pen name for Dennis Miller. Many of the same mannerisms, references and anecdotes emulate the distinct feel of the renowned comedian’s stand-up. Or at the very least, it provides a degree of inspiration here. Unfortunately, while it shines on a comedy stage, it serves little purpose here other than to muddy down the narrative, slowing it down to a crawl, and confusing the audience to the point where they need a dictionary and perhaps an oxygen tank to peruse this piece.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation