Continuing with my yearly re-readings of this. I am always impressed by the concise nature of Cooper's prose, how his ideas are complex but their expr...moreContinuing with my yearly re-readings of this. I am always impressed by the concise nature of Cooper's prose, how his ideas are complex but their expression is straightforward. (less)
I think this is probably my least favorite of the cycle, though it still being Cooper, I still like it more than a lot of other author's work. The ins...moreI think this is probably my least favorite of the cycle, though it still being Cooper, I still like it more than a lot of other author's work. The insistence on the incorporation of the lyrics from music that's playing strikes me as a bit annoying, as I don't ever really feel like indie rock lyrics, especially those rattled out in the ironic voice of Robert Pollard, really hit at the emotion that this book was presenting (though I should clarify that GBV is one of my favorite bands, so it's not that I don't like the lyrics).
There's also a sort of defeated nastiness here that I think is absent from the other books, despite how many not-entirely-invested readers are quick to accuse the evilness of. Both Frisk and this work seem to deal with the issue of representation, and while it's more on the surface here, I think it works a lot better in Frisk.
This is the only book in the cycle that takes, exclusively, the narrative pov of the "predators" so to speak (while it's all from narrator-Dennis-godlike point of view that is). In the rest of the cycle, I suppose excluding Frisk, the point of view is primarily that of the hunted instead of the hunter. This feels a lot more predatory, and I would say intentionally so, but in a way that makes it sort of uncomfortable, and not just in the level of uncomfortability that the subject manner brings. Somehow, Dennis throwing character-Dennis' ideology through the abstracted pseudo-language of LSD also weakens it. It makes it less sincere. When 15 year old Ziggy is fucked up on drugs and trying to understand drugs in stilted and fragmented language, it's a lot more sincere than 30-or-40-something Dennis doing the same thing. Character Dennis has already been in Ziggy's place.
Though I have to admit that the (semi-)straight up autobiographia with George that pops up near the end of the book is used brilliantly, especially because it conflicts the voice of character-Dennis even more.
Okay, having just been clued into the fact that half of the "article for SPIN" in Guide was actually part of an article that the real Dennis Cooper wrote for SPIN magazine, I pulled my copy of All Ears off my shelf (for some reason the only Cooper book that I haven't read yet... guess I'll do that tomorrow, apparently I just always forget that it exists), and read the original article. The different contexts color it in totally different ways, but also sort of serve to highlight how incredibly-fucking-meta Guide is. I think it's probably a lot more technically accomplished than the former three books in the cycle, but it's just the narrative itself that I don't like as much. It's a brilliant experiment, and I think people that dismiss Cooper as a "flat" writer are totally missing out on what his texts are actually doing, but whatever.(less)
the best -------- This book is incredible, and within the structure of the the cycle it's even more perfect. This book alternatively makes me want to wr...morethe best -------- This book is incredible, and within the structure of the the cycle it's even more perfect. This book alternatively makes me want to write write write and also spend forever figuring everything in this out-- but then I realize I'm not sure what's left to figure out? Like I don't think it should be de-mystified, because that's what makes it so, well, epic.
The handling of so much meta-narrative and cyclic, narratives turned onto themselves is incredible, it would have been so easy to make this fall apart, but somehow it works, and it works incredibly well.
A second reading (in full), of what has been a favorite book for me for years, the partial source of my website's name (being, of course Topology of t...moreA second reading (in full), of what has been a favorite book for me for years, the partial source of my website's name (being, of course Topology of the Impossible, a sort of portmanteau between this book and Bataille's The Impossible).
I was glad, naturally, to discover that this is indeed a very prime example of Robbe-Grillet's genius, and reading it found me very excited again. Also, I find it sincerely less "problematic" at the level of "misogyny" or something (for want of a better term), than I did upon re-reading Project for a Revolution in New York: A Novel last year.
The first two sections are perfectly lucid examples of Robbe-Grillet's generative method, introducing an element and then literally building a narrative out of that element, permutating from one object to another in a crystal clear way, until he has constructed entire architectures populated with 'players,'--in this case, as this is a Robbe-Grillet novel, young & bored girls. We get hints, somewhat divorced from the generative matrix (but still a result of it), of a larger narrative, about an ancient city that has been destroyed, the mythology of Vanidas, David, Vanessa, the temple, an altar... but there is no money-shot, the narrative is introduced to move the text along, we can linger in details before another change happens. Then follow two sections derived from Robbe-Grillet's collaborations with David Hamilton, using Hamilton's photos as generative sources, constructing narratives of young nude girls, trapped or not trapped in a prison-like environment, yet free and alone to linger on one-another's bodies. Despite the objectifying gaze that clearly dominates these sections, I find the prose itself quite light and gentle, adding an element of playfulness to the larger narrative which is, of course, a game in itself.
Later we move into narrative before reaching the Coda, where events are presented only to fade into ellipsis, like the circuitous language of Robbe-Grillet's script for Alain Resnais's Last Year at Marienbad--which is to say, for someone so concerned with objective description, there is an abundance of poetry present.
The totality is an entirely heterogeneous work, something I am always fond of, that leaves an impression of exploring ruined architectures, given hints of sadomasochistic ritual that might, perhaps, only be being playacted for spectators on a regular basis. The ambiguity presents the space of play, a free-floating eroticism that presents itself as serious but detached, and there's a wonderful head-space presented here, one of the spatial affect eroticism incurs, informs, creates. Walking through an abandoned temple as orgasm...(less)
way to name-drop harry kumel and his films for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. generic thriller for the most part. but it's really bizarre that the gimmick is k...moreway to name-drop harry kumel and his films for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. generic thriller for the most part. but it's really bizarre that the gimmick is kumel's filmography.(less)