All hail seitan! Oh, wait, that line is for my review of a vegetarian cookbook.
I, Lucifer is a little bit of a treatise on how we'd do exactly the sam...moreAll hail seitan! Oh, wait, that line is for my review of a vegetarian cookbook.
I, Lucifer is a little bit of a treatise on how we'd do exactly the same things Satan has done if we were in his position. And it was pretty damn convincing: "The idea of spending eternity with nothing to do except praise God is utterly unappealing. You'd be catatonic after and hour. Heaven's a swiz because to get in you have to leave yourself outside. You can't blame me because - now do please be honest with yourself for once - you'd have left too."
And it's interesting to think just how much Lucifer embodies honesty, in a strange way. He's honest about his feelings, his boredom, his ambition, and he doesn't sugar coat anything. In this book, Lucifer's original sin was just daring to think of himself as himself. Coming from a very individualistic society, I can't imagine doing things any other way, so I was on his side for most of the book. Not to say that it didn't have some problems...
The problems I had with the book were that the author was going at this so full-throttle with his thoughts that occasionally it rang false (example, his Elton John vendetta got really old)- but you have to expect that when you put yourself out there like this. He was writing from the point of view of Satan, for Chrissakes.
But you have to admire the author's style. Wow.
The absolute best parts were the retelling of the Garden of Eden/Crucifixion/War in Heaven from his point of view. The retellings were brilliant! I'm a stone-cold naturalist, so this supernatural mumbo-jumbo doesn't sound logical to me, but it all makes a helluva lot more sense than the original versions where we're supposed to side with God! Alternatively, the non-supernatural portions of the book where Luce interacts with humans as Declan Gunn are boring, and they get worse as the book progresses. Okay, to end with another precious quote. This was a description of Eve before she met up with Adam, living in her own part of the garden:
"[Eve:] had something Adam didn't. Curiosity. First step to growth - and if it wasn't for Eve's Adam would still be sitting by the side of the pool picking his nose and scratching his scalp, bamboozled by his own reflection. Off in her part of Eden, Eve hadn't bothered naming the animals. On the other hand she'd discovered how to milk some of them and how best to eat the eggs of others. She'd decided she wasn't overly keen on torrential rain and had built a shelter from bamboo and banana leaves, into which she'd retire when the heavens opened, having set out coconut shells to catch the rainwater with a view to saving herself the schlep down to the spring every time she wanted a drink. The only thing you won't be surprised to hear about is that she'd already domesticated a cat and called it Misty."(less)
This book was very beautiful and quick to read. It's a demonstration of how something doesn't have to be complex to be a literary accomplishment.
I lov...moreThis book was very beautiful and quick to read. It's a demonstration of how something doesn't have to be complex to be a literary accomplishment.
I loved the narration style. The alternating back and forth meant that I never got bored, and most of the time, the stories of both narrators were interesting - the girl's narration a little more so.
The thing I had the hardest time clicking with was the man's narration. He came from a traditional Japanese family with the usual mores and customs regarding sex and duty. Predictably, these were really foreign to me. I don't expect a book set in 1930's China to feature modern, Western-thinking men, but you also can't blame me for failing to connect with main characters that have this mindset.(less)
I was hoping I'd love this book because my boyfriend shelled out $7.50 for it at the used bookstore for me, and because I usually LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Rus...moreI was hoping I'd love this book because my boyfriend shelled out $7.50 for it at the used bookstore for me, and because I usually LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Rushdie's stuff.
This was pretty awful though. It's one of the 1001 Books You're Supposed to read before you get a headache or something only because Rushdie's the author, I suspect.
There is no way I will finish that list of books, because there is no way I will ever finish this book. I'll have to trade it for The Moor's Last Sigh on paperbackswap.com.(less)
This book was really, really simple, but nicely executed. That's way better than unnecessarily complicated and sloppy.
It reminded me a lot of a really...moreThis book was really, really simple, but nicely executed. That's way better than unnecessarily complicated and sloppy.
It reminded me a lot of a really underrated murder mystery book I read called Three Bags Full. Three Bags Full is about a flock of sheep trying to determine who killed their shepherd, and it's replete with precious observations from animals who are just removed enough from the way typical humans think to make profound observations about their behavior.
That's how I felt when I started reading TCIOTDITN, but I was disappointed because I was hoping for a similar, but better story, and I got something different. Part of the problem was that the pacing was flawed. [Semi-SPOILER:] You find out who the killer is about halfway through and spend the rest of the time talking about stuff totally unrelated to dogs and night-time and investigating mysteries. I don't need to read only mysteries, but the book started out as one thing and morphed to something else.
The end was definitely sweet and uplifting, and I probably teared up a little at the last few lines. I'm not totally sold on it being on the 1001 Books list, but whatevs! (less)
I found out that there's something slightly more annoying than people telling me to "Kill my TV." It's reading about how Chuck Klosterman never intend...moreI found out that there's something slightly more annoying than people telling me to "Kill my TV." It's reading about how Chuck Klosterman never intends to own a bed because he considers it way too luxurious. Instead, he enjoys sleeping on a pallet in the corner of his room and bemoans his inability to have a fulfilling relationship.
I can totally see why this book is popular with people in my age group and slightly older. The man is an intelligent writer. But there's no way a 50-year-old would like this book. And Chuck spends way too much space expounding on how nobody born after 1977 could get it either. He thinks the only people who "get" Saved by the Bell were born in the mid-seventies - are you kidding me? I was born in the eighties, and it was absolutely a huge part of my and my contemporaries' lives. Now I know why people think GenXers are so self-involved: they think they own every cultural phenomenon of the late 20th century.
Getting past that, there's Chuck's definitive-sounding declarations on everything from sports to TV. Examples: If you never cared about the Celtics/Lakers rivalry, that means you never cared about anything (p. 102). Or, Inside the Actors' studio is America's single most embarrassing TV program (p. 212) Or he would sooner have his kid deal crystal meth than play soccer (p. 95).
All of these things are clearly not factual (or the alternative: C.K. is an unstable, ridiculous person). Basically, he likes exaggerating for the dramatic effect, but it becomes meaningless with its overuse.
He spends a chapter arguing that Nashville country music is a democratic representation of the people, even more than soulful country like Lucinda Williams and Uncle Tupelo. Unlike rock ballads, written by rock stars, the lyrics of country music are written by the people in some sort of bottom-up function. Because of this, even though Clink Black doesn't write his own songs, he's still more important than alternative country music. Hell, I know that's wrong, and I *like* Clint Black! He then injects his reactionary views on gender roles into the whole situation and somehow goes off on a tangent about how Sex & the City is turning women into sluts when nobody should be having casual sex.
His colloquial use of the all-caps ANYWAY, at the beginning of random sentences was sloppy. I felt like he used it as a crutch when he couldn't construct a meaningful transition sentence to get him back to the topic.
As a data jockey by trade, I loathed his small essay on probabilities. Everything is 50-50, he writes. Either it will happen, or it won't. What are the probability you're going to roll a 3 on a 6-sided die? 50-50 because it will happen or it won't. What are the chances your sister's going to be a world famous baton-twirler? 50-50 because it either will happen or it won't. That's not what probability means, dumbchuck!
(My boyfriend insists he was joking in this section - anybody else agree? I don't know...)
He did make a few points that I really liked, like his comparison between Marilyn Monroe and Pam Anderson. And his statement about how pretentious and elitist is is to declare that you listen to everything *except* country music. And I loved his set of questions in the middle of the book. But most of it was just an uber-intellectual trying to say something cutting-edge and ending every chapter with some only-slightly pertinent reference to a preceding sentence. ANYWAY, I'm off to work.(less)
**spoiler alert** It's a really good book with plot holes that I could drive a semi through.
While we're talking about driving, I'm not clear why Kath...more**spoiler alert** It's a really good book with plot holes that I could drive a semi through.
While we're talking about driving, I'm not clear why Kath had to spend so much time driving all over the English countryside to care for her clients. Wouldn't it make more sense to have her stationary at one or two locations close together? This isn't, like, totally integral to the plot, but the author mentions it quite a few times. Seems like in a world that already allocates gobs of resources to rearing people's genetic matches, it's odd that they also allocate unrestricted petrol to these guys (yes, I said petrol, I've been reading in British voice for the last few days).
While I'm on the subject of plot holes, there was a big one Ishiguro stepped over - why didn't some/any/every clone realize that they were not tethered to Hailsham/Cottages/the centers and freakin' say no/leave/revolt/commit suicide? I realize that this book was not entirely about the logistics of the whole operation, and that's a strength of it! But this major logical flaw just needed to be addressed. In one way or another.
Other than that, the book was really good. I wasn't as impressed with the writing style so much as I was with the structure. Ishiguro kept me going through this book, and each event flowed nicely into the next. (less)