If anything, Burgess' Junk has taught - or indeed reminded me - how very prejudice a person I am.
I've always considered myself a very open minded andIf anything, Burgess' Junk has taught - or indeed reminded me - how very prejudice a person I am.
I've always considered myself a very open minded and a non-judgeental person, but erhhh, error. It seems as if I, to some extent, am as bad as the very people I despise. You see, I was convinced, CONVINCED, that Junk was going to be yet another story about drugs and rock and roll; resulting in a moral tale instructing us to stay away from narcotics. Drugs are bad, stay away and all that shit, but NO. This book is about so much more. It's an insightful and mind-opening book about wester civilization, in which western and modern values are questioned- moral, political as well as social. Or, at least, you are narratively fed to think so. In the end, however, you end up questioning the very moral you thought you were clever enough to draw out from the intended(?) didactic purpose. (If indeed such a purpose exists.) I read Junk in one go. Found myself confused and bought an (or maybe a few) alcoholic beverages and now find myself typing. Read, read, REEEAAAD goddammit.
Hely's protagonist/narrator Pete Tarslaw has four simple goals as a novelist:
1. FAME - Realistic amount. Enough to open new avenues of sexual opportuHely's protagonist/narrator Pete Tarslaw has four simple goals as a novelist:
1. FAME - Realistic amount. Enough to open new avenues of sexual opportunity. Personal assistant to read my mail, grocery shop, and so on. 2. FINANCIAL COMFORT - Never have a job again. Retire. Spend rest of life lying around, pursuing hobbies (boating? Skeet shooting?) 3. STATELY HOME BY OCEAN (OR SCENIC LAKE) - Spacious library, bay windows, wet bar. HD TV, discreetly placed. Comfortable couch. 4. HUMILIATE POLLY [THE EX-GIRLFRIEND] AT HER WEDDING
Ali Smith's, Girl Meets Boy, is a postmodernist novella based on a myth from Ovid's Metamorphoses. It's OVERWHELMED with contemporary themes, such asAli Smith's, Girl Meets Boy, is a postmodernist novella based on a myth from Ovid's Metamorphoses. It's OVERWHELMED with contemporary themes, such as human rights, feminism, ...
This Boy’s Life is a memoir dealing with guilt, abandonment, cruelty and lies, but most of all it is a novel about a never dying belief of one’s self.This Boy’s Life is a memoir dealing with guilt, abandonment, cruelty and lies, but most of all it is a novel about a never dying belief of one’s self. It is an upsetting story about abuse, and about wanting and believing that you deserve a better life. Written in a spare, clear and hypnotic Hemingway-way, a fixating novel. Toby Wolff, later Jack, and his mother are on the road. They are moving to Utah to start a new life, but unfortunately his mother’s boyfriend Roy comes after them. Jack and his mother eventually escape Roy but soon find themselves moved in with another abuser, Dwight. Dwight demeans, bullies and punishes Jack for no reason and it takes a long time before Jack’s mother realizes what is going on when she is not around, but when she witnesses Dwight hurt her son she decides to get a divorce. In comparison to the protagonist in Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called “It”, a horrific autobiography describing in detail the abuse Pelzer was subjected to as a child, Jack is not perceived as the typical victim one sympathizes. Because unlike the protagonist in Pelzer’s novel, Jack eventually stands up for himself and understands that what he is subjected to is wrong and unfair. Jack deals with his situation through escapism via imagination and as the story moves on he begins to turn his fantasies into reality. In Dave Pelzer’s novel it is impossible not to sympathize with the protagonist, but Jack is a rising underdog. He stands up for himself and tries to improve his situation and therefore one sometimes forgets to feel sorry for him. Wollf’s memoir is an inspirational story and it teaches that one should never allow anyone else to define oneself. ...more
Michael Dillon is about to turn his life around. He has decided to leave his beautiful but superficial wife Moira for his girlfriend Andrea, and togetMichael Dillon is about to turn his life around. He has decided to leave his beautiful but superficial wife Moira for his girlfriend Andrea, and together with Andrea he is about to start a new life in London. But just when he is about to drop the news to his wife the IRA (the Irish Republican Army) breaks into their house and they are taken hostage. Dillon is faced with a dilemma. He can inform the police about the bomb that the IRA has planted in his car and save dozens of guests at the Clarence Hotel where he works; or, he can insure the safety of his wife by doing what he is told and consequently be the cause of innocent strangers getting blown up. It is understandable that lies of silence got shortlisted for the booker prize because it does accomplish to create a suspense, a setting of political and religious tension and it manages to show how people’s actions can surprise us when they are put in threatening situations. In a way a cleverly written book, with lack of descriptions and told from the decisive and boring Dillon’s point of view; nevertheless, it is a predicable story. In chapter two one already knows how the book is going to end, and two hundred pages later: yes, it is interesting that Dillon is the main character and at the same time the coward but ultimately it is annoying how he goes about to get his life back. Because nobody in fear of his or her life, with any sort of self-preservation, would act as Dillon does. Nobody. An interesting read because of how it is constructed. The lack of a descriptive narrative and the chose of protagonist and point of view prove that it is possible to write about anything in any way. However, it does not necessarily produce a good novel. ...more
Loitering with Intent is Fleur Talbot’s autobiography. It is Fleur’s story about the time when she was working as a secretary for Sir Quentin Oliver’sLoitering with Intent is Fleur Talbot’s autobiography. It is Fleur’s story about the time when she was working as a secretary for Sir Quentin Oliver’s Autobiographical Association. While working there, Fleur was also working on her first novel, Warrender Chase. Written and constructed in a précis and straightforward way, with numerous beautiful repetitions that are always followed through; a superbly written story, recommendable to anyone. As Fleur moves her story along we get to experience her discovery: something is not right with sir Quentin and his association. Scared members want to leave the association but are somehow blackmailed by Sir Quentin. Fleur finds their autobiographies incredibly dull and badly written and decides to re-write them. What is strange is that they don’t seem to mind. In fact, they are convinced that it must have happened the way Fleur wrote it. Stranger still is that Fleur’s Warrender Chase is being played out in real life by the members of the association. Despite everything that is going on in Fleur’s life she doesn’t care about anything apart from her novel; it is all inspiration for her writing. She is witty, independent and at times a bit ruthless and mean; in many ways she is a modern female version of Wilde’s sensational Lord Henry. When Fleur’s novel gets stolen, she gets to act out like a fictional heroin detective in order to get it back, and getting to read how she goes about it is very much like the reading experience equivalent of taking the first drag of a cigarette after a glass of wine, - divine. Loitering with Intent is so far from waste of tree as a novel possibly can be. It manages to mess with your head and at times you forget that it is a fictional story about a writer, writing about the time when she wrote her first novel, really written by internationally award winning Muriel Sparks. Don’t go and look for Warrender Chase at the library, sadly it does not exist.
Set in Los Angeles in the 1930’s, the clever, analytical, cynical and brutally honest detective Philip Marlow is hired by General Sternwood to help hiSet in Los Angeles in the 1930’s, the clever, analytical, cynical and brutally honest detective Philip Marlow is hired by General Sternwood to help him sort out the inconvenient little affair of being blackmailed by a certain Arthur Gwyn Gieger. Detective Marlowe tends to consume perhaps a little too much alcohol, a little too often; and together with his cynicism Chandler has created a character who answers ‘Any way at all’, when asked how he likes his Brandy. Detective Marlowe is both narrator and protagonist and he moves The Big Sleep forward with a very descriptive language. His descriptive style is presented already on page one: ‘I was wearing my powder-blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it.’ The plot is typical for a crime novel: Main character tries to figure out the task at hand and consequently the plot starts to uncover, and the deeper in the main character gets, the closer he gets to the truth. As Marlowe gets to the bottom of the blackmailing business he gets entangled in another unsolved mystery and decides to uncover the truth about what has happened to the General’s most beloved ex son in law Rusty Regan. After an attempt on his life Marlowe eventually puts all the pieces of the puzzle together; and like in all great crime novels, nothing turns out the way you expected it to. The Big Sleep would most likely be a bore to read without its narrator, because it is not the plot that is brilliant. Choosing Marlowe to tell the story was a great move. His narrative style makes the entire book. Take any plot, let Marlowe narrate it end up with an amusing novel. It does not matter what the story is about as long as Marlow gets to tell it.
In Slaughterhouse 5’s first chapter, author Kurt Vonnegut informs the reader that this is his war-novel about Dresden. He continues by saying that heIn Slaughterhouse 5’s first chapter, author Kurt Vonnegut informs the reader that this is his war-novel about Dresden. He continues by saying that he has always wanted to write a story about his Dresden experience, but he states that: ‘not many words about Dresden came […] not enough of them to make a book.’ For a long time he thought that ‘I don’t think this book of mine is ever going to be finished. I must have written five thousand pages now, and thrown them all away.’ He declares that his novel, that the reader now reads, ‘is a failure’. Throughout Slaughterhouse 5, Vonnegut interrupts his story of Billy Pilgrim to write about writing his book. According to Janet Burroway’s and Elizabeth Stuckey-French’s, Writing Fiction: A guide to Narrative Craft, metaficton ‘calls attention to its own techniques, and insists that what is happening is that a story is being written and read. This essay will discuss Vonnegut’s authorial interruptions and why he writes Slaughterhouse 5 in this way.
Metafictional writing does ‘in providing a critique of their own methods of construction […] examine the fundamental structures of narrative fiction’, and this Vonnegut does. He describes early on how he constructed Slaughterhouse 5: ‘I used my daughter’s crayons, a different colour for each main character. One end of the wallpaper was the beginning of the story, and the other end was the end, and then there was all the middle part, which was the middle. And the blue line met the red line and then the yellow line, and the yellow line stopped because the character represented by the yellow line was dead. […] The destruction of Dresden was represented by a vertical band of orange cross-hatching’. He also explains why there are not many characters in his novel: ‘There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters.’
In the beginning of the novel he lets the reader know that ‘the climax of the book will be the execution of poor old Edgar Derby [...] A whole city gets burnt down, and thousands and thousands of people are killed. And then this one American foot soldier is arrested in the ruins for taking a teapot. And he’s given a regular trial, and then he’s shot by a firing squad.’ He also tells the reader why he has decided to construct Slaughterhouse 5 in this way: ‘the irony is so great’.
Meta fiction is self-conscious, and throughout his novel Vonnegut shows self-consciousness when writing about writing. He admits that he was wrong to think that it would be easy to write a war-novel about his WW2-experience: ‘When I got home from the Second World War twenty-three years ago, I thought it would be easy for me to write about the destruction of Dresden, since all I would have to do would be to report what I’d seen.’ This may be the reason as to why Slaughterhouse 5 is a fictional story about Billy Pilgrim instead of being Vonnegut’s memoir. He also shows self-consciousness when he admits that ‘It’s so short and jumbled and jangled, […] because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.’ There is in fact not much about Dresden and the bombing in Vonnegut’s novel, and maybe the above quote is why; perhaps he finds it too difficult to write about.
Approximately two thirds in, Vonnegut introduces himself, himself the author, to the reader: ‘An American near Billy wailed that he had excreted everything but his brains. Moments later he said. “There they go, there they go.” […] That was I. That was me. That was the author of this book.’ Since this is all the reader ever gets to hear about Vonnegut, he has once again paused his story to stress that what the reader is reading is a fictional novel, not a memoir of his Dresden-experience.
In conclusion, Vonnegut’s self-conscious way of writing about writing, and his self-provided critique of his novel’s construction, makes Slaughterhouse 5 a metafictional novel. In addition, his self-conscious authorial interruptions also explain why he has written Slaughterhouse 5 the way he has. He informs the reader himself: He realized that he was incapable of reporting what he had seen and he thought he was never going to finish his book. Slaughterhouse 5 is most likely, as Vonnegut puts it himself, the ‘failure’ of a historical memoir. ...more
My favorite Shakespear play. What's not to like? A fairy queen and a fairy king, a mysterious forest where lovers are torn apart and then - with a litMy favorite Shakespear play. What's not to like? A fairy queen and a fairy king, a mysterious forest where lovers are torn apart and then - with a little help of fairy-magic- brought back together. Comical, insightful and charming....more