This is an exquisite book. Formally, its so sophisticated; his use of colour and the compositional space of the page is unique. Each page is more like...moreThis is an exquisite book. Formally, its so sophisticated; his use of colour and the compositional space of the page is unique. Each page is more like a painting than a comic, he doesn't use boxes and speech bubbles and takes advantage of the freedom this gives his art to deliver the story in fresh ways. Illustratively it's also wonderful; his gracefully dabbed figures have a very authentic, deceptively simple body language. He gives the characters all the right gestures and density and colour. People criticise the story as banal but I think it's brilliantly observed, I was both convinced and even gripped by the social dynamics his story tells. The dialogue is subtle and precisely noted. He has an ear for language as well as an eye for, well, the visible. I also love his use of watercolour, he perfectly exploits its capacity for both opacity and translucence. He paints physical spaces beautifully too.(less)
Boy oh boy. It's kind of a one-sided view of an increasingly unhealthy relationship. If you can even call it a view, as Orton, charming and witty as h...moreBoy oh boy. It's kind of a one-sided view of an increasingly unhealthy relationship. If you can even call it a view, as Orton, charming and witty as he seems, was too self-centred to really see his relationship. I'm not sure how long he could have gone on, denying his own need for and others' need for love. He would have crashed and burned with his own nihilistic hedonism at some point (perhaps when his career was turning down?). You get the sense about a third of the way through the diaries that he's just writing them for future publication. Little did he know the circumstances under which they would be. Also, the introduction by John Lahr is great, as well as his very useful footnotes sometimes drawing on his biographical research on Orton. I'll have to read Prick Up Your Ears too.(less)
**spoiler alert** First up, Chester Brown didn't have to convince me that prostitution shouldn't be criminalised. Let's start with that. And some of h...more**spoiler alert** First up, Chester Brown didn't have to convince me that prostitution shouldn't be criminalised. Let's start with that. And some of his views on 'passive monogamy' are very reasonable; but they wouldn't work for everyone (is it rude to wonder if he is Aspergers or something like that? He's got a very clinical view of relationships). But I respected his rigour in questioning his assumptions about the world, even if sometimes his position was defended a bit dogmatically. And I wanted to high-five his assertion that: "Friendship love and family love can be as fulfilling as romantic love." Yes indeed they can and people would be so much happier if they could realise that. Indeed, if society at large could accommodate that more readily. We are definitely too conventional in our construction of social relationships, in the straight world anyway.
Paying for It would have got more than 3 stars if I felt like it was more story and less argument. Sometimes it was a bit of a list of the women (and his assessment of their attributes) than a story; maybe the narrative suffers slightly from his desire to be completist about all the women he saw in a particular time. I wish it was all like the beginning, where it was more about his life, and how he came to this choice, and what he was thinking about it as it happened. That stuff was fascinating. (Was he really thinking about how he was going to review the sex online *while* he was having it, or is that creative license? You know, I suppose it's not that weird to think that way ... sometimes while watching a movie I find myself thinking about looking up a fact in Wikipedia or an actor on IMDB, even while I'm watching it. Stupid attention-span shortening internet).
Actually, I churned through the whole book in about an hour anyway so I must have been fascinated enough. I *really* wanted to know more about Denise and how that works for them. It's inevitable that a memoir is completely one-sided, but I do feel that I would have liked more from at least her point of view. I understand that the small scale of her role in the book relative to in Brown's life is respectful, as she requested to be included as little as possible. And I know there are tidbits of the women's conversations with him ... it could be that I'm female, but sometimes I would have liked this to have been a 'johns I have known' memoir ... someone oughta do that. Someone as willing to be honest, and who can also draw and write really well, and who has worked in the sex industry ... OK never mind, I won't hold my breath. There are probably plenty of non-comics memoirs.
I wonder if he started this book before he started seeing Denise?
Two more things, for Chester if you're reading: yes, barter means barter just the same in Australia, and, no, a book about seeing prostitutes is really not that hard to market! I'm sure I'm not the only person for whom (although I am a big fan of Brown's work, Louis Riel in particular) this book aroused a somewhat prurient interest :) Dude, it's about sex, not a Canadian revolutionary that no-one who is not Canadian has heard of. Haven't you heard that sex sells? So you could have called it whatever you wanted - what *did* you want to call it? (less)
Oh my goodness, this book is written so badly (or is it the translation?).
It had the word 'anon' in there twice! I felt like marking all the bad passa...moreOh my goodness, this book is written so badly (or is it the translation?).
It had the word 'anon' in there twice! I felt like marking all the bad passages so I could list them here ... but in the end, who can be bothered? This was really like SVU, it's sort of exploitative, but that's what crime fiction is like, I guess. I guess it wasn't bad, in a page-turny kind of way ... but I mentally edited it all the way through. Salander left me very cold, but i liked Blomqvist and it didn't bother me that all the ladies wanted to fuck him. But every single other character was a big cardboard cut out. Partly because the dialogue was so clunky.
It was just so totally ESL. I guess they really rushed it out. Oh well, I've read it now. Cultural phenomenon covered, all right?(less)
Another book I've read and forgotten. I don't really even remember what this was about - I read it when I was in high school - but I remember finding...moreAnother book I've read and forgotten. I don't really even remember what this was about - I read it when I was in high school - but I remember finding it very American and not relating that much to it.(less)
So far, this is great. My heart sank a little when I realised early on how much of the book would be spent in the biographer's primary resources, but...moreSo far, this is great. My heart sank a little when I realised early on how much of the book would be spent in the biographer's primary resources, but somehow Byatt is always worth what can be an initial effort. She works you into it ... Byatt's characters live in a kind of un-real world steeped in scholarship and solo bookishness, where everyone is kind of modernly arcane and thinky and obsessed with details. Popular culture rarely creeps in and I was shocked to read mentions of websites when they came up. But she sucks you right in and makes you focus on minutiae along with her characters. I like her sense of building a mystery/magic around the proceedings too, narratively she needs this and she provides enough. *Having finished it update* She lost me a bit in the last quarter. This book *was* very academic. I felt like she didn't know how to round it off surprisingly, so she rounded it off neatly.(less)
**spoiler alert** Brutal. After about 15 pages when he starts to 'run' I realised I was not going to be taken where I had thought I would be. Oh, it's...more**spoiler alert** Brutal. After about 15 pages when he starts to 'run' I realised I was not going to be taken where I had thought I would be. Oh, it's brutal. And I don't even mean the main tragic event near the end. It's the casual cruelty and the thoughtless carnage inflicted by Rabbit's obliviousness. Awful, brutal. But just a wonderful, astute, cutting and precise book. (less)
Interesting book - I think the sub-title is a bit of a misnomer. It's kind of more a memoir of Thomas's sexual relationship with the love of his life,...moreInteresting book - I think the sub-title is a bit of a misnomer. It's kind of more a memoir of Thomas's sexual relationship with the love of his life, eight years or so after her death. Thomas doesn't come across too well in his memoir, he seems to be unapologetic about his selfish behaviour to his his many partners. It seems he ends with a 'happy marriage' with a much-younger woman because he is too elderly to continue to pursue his habit of infidelity, except in vivid dreams with his beloved Denise. These were the best part of the book, I think, the most human and compelling. The 'Hollywood saga' took place almost never in Hollywood, but I guess is the loooong story of the twenty year or so development hell that Thomas's novel The White Hotel fell into. This part of the book doesn't really go anywhere as the film was never made, and it's kind of difficult to spend so much time in the company of the insincerity of this process. At the same time, I'm pretty interested in any behind the scenes movie production narratives; but this one was so arrested that it became a bit of the albatross for the book to keep on with repeating email after email from producer, director, etc etc. I really enjoyed hearing about Thomas's encounters with William Golding, Dennis Potter, et al, and wonder if a straight memoir might not have worked better. But this was still a compelling read, as Thomas is an excellent writer, and very honest (if not necessarily that reflective). A side note: aside from being a dirty old man all his life, Thomas enjoyed Margaret Thatcher's "bracing radicalism". Cripes.(less)
Found this hard to love. The pieces are so short, their themes so repetitive. I guess I'm a fan of longer-form narrative. The short interview at the e...moreFound this hard to love. The pieces are so short, their themes so repetitive. I guess I'm a fan of longer-form narrative. The short interview at the end with Tatsumi was very interesting though.(less)