Ah yes. What I needed in my life is a good dose of Lost Generation antisemitism, macho chauvinism and sanctimonious jerkassery. Oh, and bullfighting gAh yes. What I needed in my life is a good dose of Lost Generation antisemitism, macho chauvinism and sanctimonious jerkassery. Oh, and bullfighting gore, which was, really, the least offensive of this book's themes....more
I'm not saying that Henry Miller is an anti-Semitic misogynist - it might be his "narrator" and "protagonist" voice, intended to convey irony and scanI'm not saying that Henry Miller is an anti-Semitic misogynist - it might be his "narrator" and "protagonist" voice, intended to convey irony and scandalize... But I think Henry Miller might just be an anti-Semitic misogynist.
Sorry, this book left me cold, annoyed, and rolling my eyes.Also, I stop my tolerance of anti-semitism in literature in the vicinity of 1890....more
It's an all right book, that tries to touch on the process of becoming newly religious with some amount of candour and insight. The problem, for me, iIt's an all right book, that tries to touch on the process of becoming newly religious with some amount of candour and insight. The problem, for me, is that as a person brought up religious, I see quite clearly all the gaps in logic and jumping around for reasons that don't really ever make any sense which the author chooses not to address, or cannot address, or something.
For example, there is a very long, quite frustrating to read, to me, dialogue, between the newly-religious protagonist and an ex-Torah scholar, non-religious now man, who claims she stonewalls him. The chapter ends with her parents being unwittingly impressed, and the man she's arguing with presented in the worst possible light, but the truth is that to me, as a reader, she absolutely does stonewall him, she doesn't make a single cogent argument and, as a straw man for her cause, neither does he. It's all quite ridiculous and sad.
In fact, this lack of insight and obvious writer's bias do permeate any and all things written in the book. It's clearly a record of personal experience, and while the author makes the protagonist's disgust with the life she leads comprehensible and clear to us, she fails to do so with the process of return.
It's all right, though, reads fast, actually has a story, and the language isn't grating, so I don't regret the time I spent on it....more
I think I may have actually not enjoyed this book because, and I am going to level with people here, I am prejudiced against Ukrainians.
Let me just elI think I may have actually not enjoyed this book because, and I am going to level with people here, I am prejudiced against Ukrainians.
Let me just elaborate here, in order to clarify statement. Much of my family comes from the Ukraine, in one form or another. my father's mother is Ukrainian, my grandfather is from Cossac stock... but the major part of my family are Ukrainian Jews, by way of Russia. And as Ukrainian culturally Russian Jews... Well, let's just say that the major Ukrainian national heroes are our giant traumatic monsters. I'm looking at you, Bogdan Khmelnitski.
So when I read about the plight of Ukraine, all I can think of is 'yeah, and guess whom you took it all out on'. And the father of the family is horrifically anti-Russian, including anti-Russian language, which, you know, probably isn't helping. And then the author goes and uses a metaphor along the lines of "Snow [...] settled like the pillows of innocent children on the slopes of Babi Yar."
Er. Uh. Just... Babi Yar. Really. Next time let's find a Polish book talking about the virgin forests of Auschwitz.
There are other reasons, too. This book is trying too hard to be cutesy, including over things that really don't lend themselves to cutesy treatment. Abuse, haha. It might have been meant ironically, of course, but the irony didn't come through. it felt more like a farce or a tragedy than a satire, in a lot of ways. The style itself didn't really do me much good. And the characters were one and all extremely unsympathetic.
It also bothered me, quite a bit, that the entire dialogue was in broken, choppy English. Even when, presumably, the people speaking would be doing so in Ukrainian and would have no reason whatsoever to sound like they're two days off the boat. I mean, are we really expected to think that the father and Valentina would be yelling in English at each other?
On the other hand, I can't deny that the book is readable. it's not trying to be abstruse, it flows pretty decently, it took me relatively little time, and as a read was fairly enjoyable. There were moments of good dialogue, and some things that made this child of immigrants sort of smile and roll her eyes. So there's that....more