There are books about Pakistan and Afghanistan written by natives that are spot-on fascinating accounts of life there, for example Salman Rushdie's MiThere are books about Pakistan and Afghanistan written by natives that are spot-on fascinating accounts of life there, for example Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, which is heart-breaking and beautiful and worth reading again. However with the rise of neo-Orientalism, or whatever it's called, has come a long line of authors with South Asian names and no real writing abilities who've dumped trite books full of stereotypes, often full of preconceptions conflating ethnic differences with character flaws. One of the biggest problem with this rise is that it's the lazy-person's way out. Because of the overwhelming influence of Lacan, no one can now "know" what life is like in any place better than a resident, even if the resident is kept in a Skinner box or is completely unobservant.
The Good Son is written by an American, of European descent I presume from his name and photo, but he describes Pakistan as if I was still sitting there without condescension to any aspect of the various native ethnicities, and with great appreciation of the detail of life. I smelled the coal burning on cold days in Lahore, and the dust on the roads, and the grease from the lamb karahi. Besides detail and accuracy, it's also a great pot-boiling read with good commentary on aspects of life there that are unique, for example the contrast between Lahori professional women and cloistered Pashtus.
This book caused the kind of heart-racing panic that Haruki Murakami causes as I don't know what will happen on the next page. Not only am I surprisedThis book caused the kind of heart-racing panic that Haruki Murakami causes as I don't know what will happen on the next page. Not only am I surprised, but I am enlightened, and looking back, I can't imagine anything other action than what was written. ...more
So far I love this book. The alternative universe of a world that never accepts the exiled Jews of Europe sends a chill up my spine. The dark world ofSo far I love this book. The alternative universe of a world that never accepts the exiled Jews of Europe sends a chill up my spine. The dark world of Black Hats and crime is something mostly unspoken about amongst non-religious Jews at least (I know no Black Hats any more - the men wouldn't talk to me anyways, and the women I knew stopped once we left college.) I could see Michael Chabon getting a sanction by a rabbinical counsel of some Black Hat sect, which wouldn't be particularly kosher per my limited knowledge. And he really gets into the complexities of Jewish identity in the plot without being preachy or self-righteous. Ask yourself, how or why does anyone identify with a nationality that lacked a home for 2000 years, and how does that merge with one's actual place of residence that can never really be their home?
I've finished read it, and now I have the same complaint I did with Noah Hawley's book A Conspiracy of Tall Men: why? When you use a detective novel genre there are of course things that keep it in the genre that are satisfying to the reader, but when you're obviously throwing a wrench in the works, when there is clearly a complex political statement you got to work the end better than "off into the sunset." I may need to reread the last few chapters again and ponder them some more. Perhaps I just missed it. ...more
I'll never finish it. The first chapter is fabulous and then I could care less. it's one of those books taht really is about and place and time that nI'll never finish it. The first chapter is fabulous and then I could care less. it's one of those books taht really is about and place and time that no longer exists and isn't that historically relevant. Lots of navel gazing about why bourgeois English became communist sympathizers.
I'm sad, I want to like her because she's so cool. maybe I need to read her latest....more
Patricia Highsmith's biography was just published. Recently deceased, she wrote very popular murder fiction most famously The Talented Mr. Ripley and
Patricia Highsmith's biography was just published. Recently deceased, she wrote very popular murder fiction most famously The Talented Mr. Ripley and succeeding novels about the maybe homosexual murderer and con artist Tom Ripley. In my quest to read about the lives of women famous in their own right, she is definitely a strong example: a lesbian, she never married nor settled down with a lover, was not close to either parent, and as far as I can see owes her entire fame solely to her own determination and talent. Pretty good role model right?
Not really. Her biography consists of whinging paragraphs of letters to her parents, notably her mother tried to abort her by drinking turpentine and then when she was small would eerily remark upon PH's love of the smell of the stuff. It's a laundry list of women she fell for, slept with and tossed away. And its a little, weirdly, homophobic. PH believed that Tom Ripley really was her alter ego; and lived her life in a law abiding away but with those values at stake.
I dropped the book 1/2 way through - its endless tide of abandoned panties and bitter recrimination was boring and stifling. But was it worth reading? Of course! It's refreshing to read about any person who could be described as representing multiple "oppressed peoples" in a completely non-enlightening manner. And even more importantly its refreshing to read about a famous woman who deserves her fame, but not my admiration. It reminded me that my values are more important than my success, lest I die a bitter old maid with a nasty, nasty biography for a eulogy....more
What if Prince wasn't a musician, but desperately wanted to bask in the reflected glory of Wendy and Lisa and followed (mostly one of) them around lonWhat if Prince wasn't a musician, but desperately wanted to bask in the reflected glory of Wendy and Lisa and followed (mostly one of) them around longingly, and saved them from wild monsters, and was straight, and devoted his eternal life to them while wearing high heels, paisley pants and ruffled shirts?