Was hoping for a bit of a 'in conclusion' that would wrap up everything and show the effects of him throughout the centuries, but it ended flatly. AllWas hoping for a bit of a 'in conclusion' that would wrap up everything and show the effects of him throughout the centuries, but it ended flatly. All of that stuff was evident in the earlier chapters but still could have used some sort of feeling of resolution. Interesting that it bookended with his wife as a nonagenarian....more
Might have benefited from coming to this book with no preconceived ideas, something that's fitting for reading about a person's life. A person doesn'tMight have benefited from coming to this book with no preconceived ideas, something that's fitting for reading about a person's life. A person doesn't know what's around the corner and from the first pages we're there looking over Knight's shoulder, seeing what he sees and just as destabilized. Even when things seem to be going well, we never know if the next scene will be his first or last. As the industry changes around him, as his body's tolerance grows and his medications double, it's not guaranteed that there will be another call, and that tension persists throughout this *fast* 300 page book. To me reading this book you can begin to understand what a precarious existence he lived, and yet one way or another he manages to thread the needle (pun intended).
A writer having lived these exploits could easily have filled this work with a surface-level retelling focused on the most lurid details, and yes this book has that and yes that's why many fans might choose to pick it from the shelf to buy, but Knight has much more of a story to tell than that. His passion for reflection and literature is clear on each page. You can tell a great deal of effort went into finding the mot juste and that he is drawing on a big reservoir of language and grey matter. This is a work that wasn't written in a hurry, but you can tell these experiences--alternating between joyful, harrowing, revolting, suspenseful, and sometimes all four at once(!), showing how his need for survival took precedence over his ambivalence time and again--have been continuously relitigated in his mind ever since they first happened. In the memoir you're there with him, thinking through all these things with him, weighing different options and then anxiously waiting with him to see what might be the consequences.
The book is very honest, whether channeling his rage and despair or showing the big successes and weaknesses. In a way, it's as much us the leering reader ogling through the window as it is him inviting one to see, and he uses that power dynamic to tell us what he really thinks, like it or not. For the first hundred pages it's difficult for us to know how much he enjoyed any of this. The focus seems to be the paycheck and the girls secondary. Then he'd have these superlatively blissful encounters, rare enough, when he and the person with him are able to break through the clouds and have an ecstatic moment of connection. At those points you're happy and jealous, but then another few pages and this uneasy peace is rent again by turmoil.
While reading this, I was in the midst of preparing for the Army PT test and weigh-in. In such moments you're most aware of how Big Army owns your body and you better do what you must, if only to keep them off your back. As a military musician, however, I was also aware that I was in this position from having made a devil's bargain: I do what I love for a living, all the while knowing there'd always be a fly in the ointment. It'll never be a perfect gig but it's a gig, and many times will come where you hate the parts of the bargain that are so far removed from playing music. Carrying a plastic container to the men's room while a Sergeant watches you pee, all the while knowing that there's no avoiding this. But then you get the moments where the crowd is singing along with you, you and the drummer are locked in and a handful of people are moved to tears. Before accepting the job, I had the thought : you say you'll do anything to be able to play guitar for a living. Well, are you willing to go to war? If you say yes to the first but not to the second, then you were never serious and were only kidding yourself. All of these concerns and themes appeared again in the book as I was living them in my own way in my life, and so that made the book doubly satisfying.
By the end of the book you realize that the book was only nominally about the porn industry, and instead it's a story of being alive....more
I dig it! During the first 100 pages, with the introduction of the Latino gang members, I was a little off-put for the presumption that if they're LatI dig it! During the first 100 pages, with the introduction of the Latino gang members, I was a little off-put for the presumption that if they're Latinos they have to be in a gang, but I kept on with it and all the characters became much more fully realized.
Glad to see fiction that is daring and not take itself too seriously. Main subject of the book seems to be language itself, which is great and this provided a big helping of food for thought. The characters, while occupying 880 pages, still seem mostly opaque and now I'm interested in the remaining volumes in order to learn more about them. Because so much of this is character driven rather than plot-driven--as well as the blistering pace with which the pages fly by--I feel little of the tension you get when you're halfway through a month-long novel and still unsure if the pay off will be worth it (for people that have read literary criticism and theory, in this sentence my DFW is showing). That tension isn't there and I can look forward to more and know it'll be worth it and not stress about it....more
**spoiler alert** This book to me was a tour-de-force, but was so sad to me that it became difficult to continue the closer I got to the end. It has b**spoiler alert** This book to me was a tour-de-force, but was so sad to me that it became difficult to continue the closer I got to the end. It has brilliant, Shakespearean examples of parallelism--Laura and Iris both loved the same man, Alex Thomas, and both hated the same man, Richard, and Iris was the one that called both those men her own while Laura was thwarted and destroyed by both men-and it's a book that
In this time of revealed racism and misogyny in the greater world, I feel firmly convinced that if Margaret Atwood has not gotten the Nobel Prize yet, it's because she's a woman....more