Ellie Ellie's Comments (member since Nov 27, 2011)

Ellie's comments from the Brain Pain group.

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Aug 22, 2014 11:35AM

58827 I was struck by the overwhelming need for an impossibility: security. The more the protagonist tries to guarantee his security, the worse the nightmare becomes. And it seems (amongst many other things) a description of the human state-we must be/cannot be secure.
Aug 14, 2014 08:35AM

58827 I started this book years ago, found the opening hilarious, and then lost momentum (and the energy needed to keep up with Gaddis' manic pace). Here's hoping I do better this time (I'm on vacation so there's a chance...)
58827 This is a little odd, I know, but the story reminds me of comedian Andy Kaufman (who was on Taxi). At the height of his popularity, Kaufman insisted he was not a comedian, not trying to be funny at all, just doing what interested him. And later in his career, he got into women wrestling and became very unpopular. He said, I'm still just doing what interests me. It's just now it doesn't interest other people.
58827 Oh good.
58827 I guess I'm alone in not finding the ending disappointing. The artist does what he has to do, sometimes the public, sometimes not but that's not the point, at least in one version of the artist, of the vision.
The same thing, I guess, of the mystic. The point is not the practice but the goal-spiritual union, in this case, however one envisions the route.
58827 Perhaps it still is ego-driven, searching for the "perfect" food that satisfies all hunger. Surprising since he was Jewish that he should have a theme that Jesus preached. I strongly identified with this story and felt all along that that was his reason even if the actual statement comes as something of a "punchline"
58827 I found it absolutely a natural response-not looking for crowds or acclaim or suffering but driven to find the food that will at last fill him and make him whole.

I love this story-probably my favorite Kafka. The "artistry" was what others saw and made of him; maybe he was too naive and let himself be used, maybe he was just indifferent (a little like Bartleby only not "preferring not to" but searching for.
58827 And there's so much we have sacrificed of who we are to our idea of what it means to be "human" (which, as you point out, is often inhuman)
58827 I liked this one but found it for some reason the most painful of the stories so far. The humor cut too deep.
58827 Gregsamsa wrote: "Nicole I think you've always given completely reasonable reasons for all of your reactions, especially those about the trains of metaphoric associations that do sometimes end up having kind of a "w..."

I made an "abandoned" shelf for just that reason.
58827 Nicole wrote: "Ellie wrote: "I think the danger is the perverse celebration of addiction (despite its appearance of doing the opposite, I think Lowry is part of a long line of writers romanticizing addiction)."


It's completely cool-what I like in this group is you can feel/think whatever and people don't (generally) take it personally.
58827 I think the danger is the perverse celebration of addiction (despite its appearance of doing the opposite, I think Lowry is part of a long line of writers romanticizing addiction). I think Greene's work is more removed from the obsession with self and larger in its view of others but (and this is not a criticism just an observation) not as intense (or self-indulgent).
I find reading Lowry like poising myself on the tip of the volcano, flirting with death and destruction, getting drunk on language, and submerging oneself (despite the political explorations) in oneself, indulging in self-hatred and self-obsession.
I find Greene passionate in a more distanced way. I prefer Greene, personally, but reading Lowry is like a dangerous adventure with language and obsession.
Don't know if this makes sense. I'm certainly not disparaging Greene, who is a favorite of mine, but Lowry takes me different, and for me, more dangerous places.
58827 And I like the addition of some music to the narrative track.
58827 Jim wrote: "Gregsamsa wrote: "Btw, did the absinthe your hippie pals made actually contain wormwood? Like it was for reals absinthe? I've only had the non-wormwoody kind and it tasted like gin and mint mouthwa..."

I'm jealous.
58827 I am rereading UTV, this time accessing the Ackerly as well. Great fun (?)

I love this book although it was like an explosion inside me.

If I prefer Greene, it's because he's more restrained-not as brilliant (although wonderful), not as dangerous.

No wonder Lowry didn't write prolifically.
58827 Jim wrote: "This discussion covers Chapter 7 – 9, p. 198 – 282

Ch. 7: The happy trio go down to the depot to catch the bus to Tomalín but are way-layed by Laruelle who insists on un apéritif sur la tour. Dis..."

I too thought of those lines of Morrison's.
58827 My understanding is that no one knows-maybe (hopefully) I'm wrong.
Mar 03, 2014 03:27AM

58827 I felt the father was definitely cruel; why, I don't know. He probably was the echo of his son's worst self-judgments. And/or knowing his son so well, he knew just how to hurt him most. I think the father was extremely deliberate in the hurt he inflicted.
58827 I may be the only one, but I found this story difficult. It was like a very bad nightmare. I liked the idea of the character creating reality but it was also frightening (too much power). And the boundaries constantly shifting and/or dissolving. Very scary (I don't need horror movies; I find life frightening enough).
58827 Ruth wrote: "Aimlessly moosing around Google this morning brought me to this interesting link, a few years old now, about the work of NYC poet Kenneth Goldsmith - http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harri......"

Thanks Ruth, that was an interesting article.
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