31 August 2016 The Kingdom of Speech, Tom Wolfe’s new book that came out yesterday, is must reading for any writer who ever wondered about their most important tool.
It’s easy reading. So easy, in fact, that you can easily suffer its scholarly detail and deep insights into evolution and linguistics and even forgive the historically accurate but unflattering portraits of those who created modern “truths.”
You may never have asked yourself, seriously, why is the North American Apache cosmogony exactly like the big bang theory (I certainly never had) but once you “get it,” you’re now ready to spend some quality time with Darwin’s dog to learn why celebrated linguists like Noam Chomsky wrongly believed recursion sentences (like this one) prove language evolved naturally within humans.
It is a rare quality of great writers that they give their reader understandings they never had before and cannot explain without reciting from the book. So I’ll contain my excitement and merely recommend that you, as a writer, experience The Kingdom of Speech for yourself.
One thing I can say is that I will never again look at words the same way.