i expected so much more from such a flipping fantastic title. if your library has it, get it for the penultimate "Mono-Cellular", the only one of thei expected so much more from such a flipping fantastic title. if your library has it, get it for the penultimate "Mono-Cellular", the only one of the six short stories where the insanity of the speaker works. and it really does work.
but sadly, the other five stories are trying way too obviously to impress. like, george saunders lite, plus nabokov lite (the title story highly resembles Pale Fire), plus pynchon lite. all stories told first person, which i often like, but you've got to make the speaker interesting. the speakers here were often annoying. and if your first-person speaker is boring and unlikable, then it seems dumb when they bust out 50-cent images like "the camber of the road is viciously arced like the back of a macadamised whale" and use words like "epicene" and "matitudinal", then later compare things to snot and turds.
too bad, because i like the interviews i've heard/read with will self....more
4.5 stars. this was a close call between 4 and 5 stars. the first 50 pages really disappointed me, after the brilliance of JR and Frolic. but suddenly4.5 stars. this was a close call between 4 and 5 stars. the first 50 pages really disappointed me, after the brilliance of JR and Frolic. but suddenly things came together and it was wonderful. i read the last 200 pages aloud to my mom while she was knitting, and for long stretches she had to stop knitting and just sat there enrapt. with 20 pages left, she whined, "I don't want it to end!" no author i have ever read can write dialogue the way Gaddis can. take the best stuff from the film Pulp Fiction, make it five times as smart and twice as funny, and make it last an entire novel. that's this book....more
this was a huge disappointment after If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. a few of the stories might be perfect for a bed-time story for a very precociothis was a huge disappointment after If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. a few of the stories might be perfect for a bed-time story for a very precocious 9-year-old, if the parent had the background to explain the science. but not enough good science for a science nerd(me), and i think too much science for a normal person. too much fairy-tale language for an adult(me), but too much technical language for a kid. some of the ideas were great, and i would enjoy the first page or two, but quickly got very old and then i would peek ahead and would groan on seeing that i had 8 more pages left in the story. ...more
3.3 stars. I don't know. This was like a slick hollywood film that is one of the studio's few "quality" films for the year, released in november so it3.3 stars. I don't know. This was like a slick hollywood film that is one of the studio's few "quality" films for the year, released in november so it's closer to awards season. I was certainly hooked by the plot, following the good guys through one close shave after the next, complete with flashbacks, tender moments, and even the occaisional light instant of humor before you're thrown back down into the infinite degradation of the post-apocalyptic hell-world.
I might have even given it 4 stars, except that every so often you have to put up with McCarthy deciding that he cannot just write a story, but simply must craft some arresting, ethereal prose for our benefit. Sadly, it sticks out like a sore thumb among the blood and guts surrounding it. It comes right off some dumb "ethereal-prose-crafting checklist":1. use a noun as a verb. 2. add "en-" to some noun to make a cool new verb. 3. have a character say something which no human being would ever, ever, ever say in the course of any conversation, ever.
viz., 1. "Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it." 2. "Ten thousand dreams ensepulchred within their crozzled hearts." 3. a stressed-out woman actually says to her husband in the course of an argument: "A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body. As for me my only hope is eternal nothingness and I hope it with all my heart." i mean come on.
but it is a pretty good story. a page-turner....more