This (experimental) novel is short, but it took me longer than expected to read it, not least because it often gave me headaches with its repetitive gThis (experimental) novel is short, but it took me longer than expected to read it, not least because it often gave me headaches with its repetitive gibberish about car crashes, sex, death, thighs, junctions, pudenda, celebrities, helicopters, billboards, magnified body images, surrealistic paintings and transcendental geometry.
There are also some unconvincing conclusions and observations about sexuality, cars and society, as well as passages like Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan, which are intentionally obscene and attack, well, Ronald Reagan, which I am fine with, as long as the text weren't plain ridiculous.
I give the book two stars and not one, because I like the narrative form and there are some interesting commentaries and clever expressions among the drivel....more
The narrator, an occasionally published poet, talks about poetry, trying to be smart and original about it, but only managing 'annoying and unconvinciThe narrator, an occasionally published poet, talks about poetry, trying to be smart and original about it, but only managing 'annoying and unconvincing'.
The rest of the book is comprised of alternating passages with the narrator talking about four-beat rhythm (it is his mania to find four beats in everything), whining about his ex-girlfriend, debunking the iambic pentameter and throwing names of poets at the reader. Oh, and some of those sequences would have been worthy of the hipster hall of fame, if that was not a bit of a paradoxical concept.
Here's a glimpse: He goes on a blueberry-picking date (but they do not pick the mainstream blueberries on the top, only those deep within the bushes, which the common pickers have not noticed), they casually recite poetry and talk about Walt Whitman, and there are some tiny windmills made of Pabst (!) beer cans.
If you have not puked in your mouth by now, you might actually like the book....more
"The Shadow of the Wind" is an intriguing tale, blending Gothic, historical and noir elements.
It took me a few pages to get used to Zafón's (too) orna"The Shadow of the Wind" is an intriguing tale, blending Gothic, historical and noir elements.
It took me a few pages to get used to Zafón's (too) ornate style and all of its details and analogies (some of them effective, some redundant), but I was soon engulfed in the story. Or stories, because there is a tale within the tale. This secondary story, which mirrors the story of the protagonist is exciting, at least the first few times it is repeated over and over again, but from different points of view. By the time we get the definitive version, though, I was growing a bit tired of it and the lengthy, unnecessarily detailed and soap-operish fashion in which it was presented did not help much.
It is, nevertheless, an enchanting and intricate story, with classic Gothic/noir motifs, some good twists (and some unnecessary and/or predictatble ones), a satisfactory ending and a promise for more....more
My favourite veshch about the novel have to be the glorious slang. (I have to say I feel a bit as if I cheated, because speaking a Slavic language, IMy favourite veshch about the novel have to be the glorious slang. (I have to say I feel a bit as if I cheated, because speaking a Slavic language, I was able to understand most of the words without a dictionary.) In an oomny way, Burgess transforms Russian words into 'nadsat' lingo and it sounds really convincing. And the words often have a double meaning and turning хорошо into 'horrorshow', for example, is just brilliant.
(Warning, spoilers ahead!)
The story itself is oozhassny cynical. Burgess seems to think the last chapter adds moral integrity to the story, but that's cal. In fact it makes it even more cynical. The government are bratchnies, the liberal opposition are bratchnies and Alex is probably the grahzniest bratchny of all, so I can't say the author makes a good case in defending the right of free will and choice. I'd say that after murdering several people and raping women and ten year old girls, you have fucking lost that right.
The Ludovico technique would be terrible if forced upon free and innocent people, but when it comes to murderers and rapists - I don't really give a cal. Of course, the point the prison 'charlie' makes is that it is hypocrisy to say that physically restraining a person's ability to do wrong is the same as converting him to the light side. It is not, and it is something terrible. But it is also hypocrisy to call little Alex 'a victim', I don't kupet that.
Teenage violence may be cured by age, but Alex does not become a better person, he never feels regret or guilt, he remains the same selfish bratchny, his desires simply switch from ultra-violence to a wife and kid. Burgess may call that moral growth, but I don't.
But the book still works for me, because even with the 'happy' ending (which was omitted in the US version and in the film), the story can be read as a dark and cynical look upon society (without Burgess's naïve ideas about redemption from original sin), the way Kubrick read it, and I'm with him on that one. ...more
Neuromancer is probably the most influential work of art in the cyberpunk genre, even more than Philip Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?* anNeuromancer is probably the most influential work of art in the cyberpunk genre, even more than Philip Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?* and Ridley Scott's Blader Runner. While reading it, I constantly stumbled across ideas, themes and terms used later on in other cyberpunk books, films, anime.
The novel itself is interesting and challenging. Gibson's style is a weird mix of hardboiled and beat literature, the sentences are energetic, but full of unusual nouns and adjectives and I often had to re-read passages in order to understand exactly what was being described. I like the fact that Gibson throws you in the middle of an unfamiliar world without explaining anything, but at times he overdoes it and the constant cyberpunk slang can get tedious. The ending was a bit disappointing, but perhaps the impact (on the world and on the characters) of all that happened would be revealed in the next parts of the trilogy.
*Cyberpunk is usually considered to have emerged around 1980, but "Do Androids..." (1968) is a classic example of a "high-tech, low-life" setting....more
As a proper modernist novel (it is the first of Woolf's stream of consciousness novels), Jacob's Room takes getting used to. And even afterwards, someAs a proper modernist novel (it is the first of Woolf's stream of consciousness novels), Jacob's Room takes getting used to. And even afterwards, some passages are difficult to follow and require re-reading. There are unfinished thoughts, fragments of dialogues, and lots of hinting, instead of showing or telling.
Although the book actually follows Jacob more than I expected after reading some reviews, a big part of it is still told through the thoughts of various people, which is quite an innovative idea for its time. The downside of it is that it sometimes binds the narrative too much to the reality of the period. Many cultural and social situations and allusions (which were probably clear to the early twentieth century readers) merely pass through their minds and are left unexplained, and I often found myself going over and over again through the same passages, without necessarily understanding them entirely - a problem I haven't had to such a degree with other novels of the same (or an earlier) period.
It is an interesting effect that despite going into people's heads, which one might think would give a more intimate perspective, the characters still feel quite distant and it is hard to associate with any of them, or get to like them. Perhaps because the book is very fragmentary and chaotic, but also because that is the point Woolf makes - she asks the questions how well we can we know somebody and what makes up a person.
Stylistically, Jacob's room reminds me of a sketchbook. Woolf draws people, settings, sceneries, thoughts, streets. Some of the sketches are quick and unfinished, some are more detailed.
I can't say the book was particularly interesting in terms of story and characters, but it was worth it simply because Woolf is a good writer, and it shows, and because of the early modernist style (the book is sometimes considered to be mainly a technical exercise) and Woolf's reflections on life and people....more