into an exaltation of larks rides a lone ranger, an American abroad; into the mouth of modernism flew Mary Butts, an author now sada flight of birds:
into an exaltation of larks rides a lone ranger, an American abroad; into the mouth of modernism flew Mary Butts, an author now sadly obscure. five fanciful English, young and feckless and rich and poisonous; more than five streams of consciousness and Butts balances them all, their thoughts and motives and reactions ebbing and flowing and creating patterns melancholy and frustrating and possibly tragic.
an unkindness of ravens swarm and mock and toy with the poor American, or at least that is the situation from his rather limited perspective; Butts makes certain the reader understands the untruth of that point of view, the myopia, as well the fragility of the situation itself: five childish English who barely understand themselves, let alone each other, living in a castle made of snowflakes.
a siege of herons... a lamentation of swans... or perhaps more appropriately, a clattering of jackdaws... these sheltered, self-absorbed English birds frustrated me to no end. I did not enjoy learning about their lives. overlaying their antics with a veneer of mythic mysticism only served to make those antics appear all the more foolish. but I did sense intentionality in that decision. and I enjoyed Butts' marvelous prose! winsome yet coolly precise, detached but at times vibrantly alive. her appreciation of the absurd, of silly misunderstandings and even sillier egotism, made the experience rather fun. her references to primitive ritual made the telling of the story constantly intriguing, despite the banality of the characters themselves.
in the end, at last, after all of the ambiguous banter and unspoken words and la-di-da betrayals, all of the flights of poetic, hermetic navel-gazing... a murder of crows come to visit. but perhaps the less said the better. here's a lesson for the fanciful English: if played with too roughly, your toys will break, cut, and infect. inevitably, shit will get real.
a slight but winning intro into a phenomenal series. this opening book follows the Drew children on summer holiday in Cornwall as they hurtle breathlea slight but winning intro into a phenomenal series. this opening book follows the Drew children on summer holiday in Cornwall as they hurtle breathlessly from place to place, ancient map in hand and Arthurian treasure awaiting them as they skillfully avoid the forces of evil.
this is probably my 3rd or 4th time reading this book, and this particular time found me more amused than impatient. once upon a time, a long time ago, I started this series by reading The Dark Is Rising - and Over Sea, Over Stone was rather unimpressive to read after that classic work. but perhaps enough time has passed. the swift pace and uncluttered prose, the nonchalant realism of how the children relate to each other, the process in which the clues on the map are discovered, the mysterious Grey House, the pleasant atmosphere of Cornwall itself... I found it all to be quite charming. I appreciated the often ambiguous menace of the forces threatening the protagonists, in particular the idea of Evil wearing a pleasant, cheerful face while bringing you sandwiches or tucking you in for bedtime. this book also features Rufus, who is not just a good dog, but a smart dog as well. he knows something bad's afoot when owls hoot in the daytime. plus he is able to control his barking when necessary, for example when Evil is looking for him and the children as they hide in the grass. good Rufus!...more
AUNT ROBERTE: "As a calm and clear-eyed atheist, member of Parliament, censor in the Ministry of Information, and advocate for reason triumphing overAUNT ROBERTE: "As a calm and clear-eyed atheist, member of Parliament, censor in the Ministry of Information, and advocate for reason triumphing over emotion, I hereby condemn my senescent husband Octave and his inane predilections: his imagination - so fervid and drooling; his interests - so panting and voyeuristic; his priorities - art and sex over progress and reason; his very perspective - so convinced that there is beauty in sin, so convinced that "beauty" and "sin" even exist. This modern world has no room for his empurpled, engorged dreams of transgression, rape, humiliation, degradation..."
UNCLE OCTAVE: "As an aristocratic fascist of the old school and a proponent of the good work the Third Reich accomplished in Paris, I hereby condemn my censorious young wife Roberte. 'Tis true, I am a religious sort, and that is not so modern. 'Tis true, my versions of the Lord and the Son and the Holy Spirit are ones that take turns ravishing my wife while I watch from behind a curtain, a delighted old cuckold. It is all true: I am both a lover of God as well as an unrepentant degenerate. But what of it? Without religion and God there is no guilt; without guilt and all such murky emotions, sex is a cold and tedious act. And without God and Guilt and Sex there is no Art! My perspective is one that embraces freedom and the imagination!"
AUNT ROBERTE: "But why does your imagination always center around my ravishment? You are a predictably reactionary sort; your simplistic complexes and your obsessive compulsions and your stilted rape fantasies are all so, so... outmoded. Hallmarks of a dying era It is a new world I am helping to create, one free of guilt. And art. And God!"
UNCLE OCTAVE: "But what of your own rape fantasies? Do not deny that you have them!"
AUNT ROBERTE: "..."
UNCLE OCTAVE: *smirks*
Their nephew Antoine enters the parlor.
UNCLE OCTAVE: "Ah, the lad returns from his lessons. Come, young Antoine, 'tis time for me to watch you ravish your aunt - your tutor and you and this random gentleman I have invited from off of the street, all together now! Father, Son, and Holy Spirit... ravishing Roberte! Right under those delicious paintings of Tarquinius ravishing Lucretia! How sublime it shall be! Now get to it!"
ANTOINE: "Praise God, the moment comes at last!"
AUNT ROBERTE: "Patience, dear boy. And let's leave this so-called God out of it, shall we? Let me finish poisoning your tedious old uncle; after he passes into the Nothingness, we shall commence a new phase of your *cough* studies. You will find that one does not need religion or art or creepy old voyeurs to have an interesting time!"...more
so it took over 400 pages before I finally gave up. should I congratulate myself for making such a colossal effort or should I be ashamed at the colosso it took over 400 pages before I finally gave up. should I congratulate myself for making such a colossal effort or should I be ashamed at the colossal waste of time? I think shame is the appropriate emotion. it feels like I've watched Clive Barker jacking off for over 400 minutes, finding myself occasionally interested but mainly bored and annoyed, and then just walked away before Clive climaxed. for shame, mark, for shame! shame on you for wasting so much time and shame on you again for writing such a disagreeable analogy. now I have an image of Barker jerking away, on and on and on, and that image will probably haunt my dreams tonight. thanks a lot, Clive Barker mark!
imagine someone telling you about an amazing mansion in Louisiana, in the middle of a swamp, populated by supernatural presences and immortal aristocrats and hyenas on the lawn and porcupines up the stairs. now imagine eagerly going into that mansion, only to find that it's actually some shitty apartment building that is completely empty of both atmosphere and mystery. ugh!
imagine hearing about a fascinating celebrity couple, or a mysterious matriarch, or this compelling person or that intriguing personality. imagine meeting them and realizing they are completely flat and boring - and that they have nothing of interest to say. not only do they have no depth whatsoever, whenever they open their mouths all that comes out are the most banal and crass comments imaginable. ugh!
several scenes take place in a Trump Tower penthouse. after some careful reflection (about 2 minutes worth plus a couple swigs of my whiskey & ginger ale), I've realized that is a perfect location for this book. much like Trump himself, the book is a hollow, bloated monstrosity that wants to have something to say but can only speak in crass banalities. ugh!
the book is about the history of two families, one immortal and supernatural, the other a lot like the Kennedys (I suppose). it did have potential, I will give it that....more
I guess I just need more than a mammoth miniseries version of a steampunk-era CSI episode. I've never enjoyed that show - what little I've watched ofI guess I just need more than a mammoth miniseries version of a steampunk-era CSI episode. I've never enjoyed that show - what little I've watched of it - because the minutia of forensic science and criminal psychology utterly bore me when they are not tied to interesting themes, characters with depth, or a rich atmosphere. the entirely insipid protagonist made me entirely frustrated. the pedestrian prose made me want to scream. the fact that the cover is the most evocative thing about a novel that should have had atmosphere to die for made me feel like I was dying inside each time I turned the page only to discover 100% plot mechanics and 0% anything of interest besides the, I suppose, "page-turning" plot. the whole experience of reading this book was excruciating. however if you are a fan of CSI, then this is probably a 4 or 5 star book for you. enjoy!...more
bonafide genius and expert paradigm-breaker Alan Moore apparently decided to slum it and created a fairly mainstream narrative with Crossed + One Hundbonafide genius and expert paradigm-breaker Alan Moore apparently decided to slum it and created a fairly mainstream narrative with Crossed + One Hundred. this is an excitingly cinematic tale that is more concerned with telling a riveting story and building a dense and complicated post-apocalyptic world than it is in exploring challenging themes or creating unique characters. the only immediately recognizable Moore flourish is its meta use of classic science fiction novels to frame and comment upon 5 of its 6 chapters. the results still amazed me. there is so much to enjoy, to live in and to engage with: a gleeful retooling of language reminiscent of Riddley Walker; a new society that illustrates the full range of Moore's progressive-feminist-anarchistic perspective on how an ideal (but still realistic) society would function; an increasingly sinister and hair-raising mystery to be solved; familiar characters who are instantly recognizable types yet still feel fresh and alive - especially a nonchalantly strong, independent, and always sympathetic female lead. this story completely captured my attention with its fascinating narrative, careful attention to detail, refreshingly casual (and incredibly explicit) approach to sex, and wonderfully lush art by Gabriel Andrade that made me really feel what it was like to live in this world. and at times it was genuinely terrifying: so, so much potential for horror lurking on the edges of the story kept me on edge in the best sort of way.
because the comic is set in the often repulsively exploitative Crossed world, unfortunately that potential for horror does rear its head - to an intense degree, more and more as the narrative plunges scarily forward. brilliant mainstream science fiction that could be a part of the Mad Max world slowly and inevitably turning into a post-apocalyptic Texas Chainsaw Massacre. so many scenes of atrocity! sweet Jesus, it was too much. Moore (and Andrade) certainly doesn't condescend to the gorehound Crossed audience - he caters to them. it's not his own creation (we can thank Garth Ennis for that) and although Moore resets the premise, he stays absolutely true to what Crossed is all about. namely, that all paths lead shitward and everything will end up far, far worse than you ever even thought it could be.
this was a superb entry in the series and I think it will also be the last one of the series that I'll read. no more, no more!...more
more low-key and downbeat "adventures" of the former eco-warrior ship Kapital and its diverse crew as they traverse a flooded and disaster-torn semi-pmore low-key and downbeat "adventures" of the former eco-warrior ship Kapital and its diverse crew as they traverse a flooded and disaster-torn semi-post-apocalyptic world in pursuit of their gigantic sister ship reasonably named The Massive. featuring mainly pleasing art in brown & blue earth & water tones that still manages to be forgettable. much like the stories they illustrate. intelligent, measured, predictable, and ultimately dull.
this series reminded me a lot of certain adventure shows that start out with fantastic flair and snazzy camerawork, a deeply developed world, intriguing mysteries, absorbing characters, the works... and then by episode 4 they've remembered they are a tv series and so de-emphasize the overarching narrative in favor of uninteresting self-contained stories. that's just not my thing in general. I usually give up on those shows around then, just as I'm now giving up on this still admirable and worthy series....more