How is your writing to survive our world increasingly devoid of the notion of honor? Does your soul seethe, or does it merely regret...moreMishima O Mishima!
How is your writing to survive our world increasingly devoid of the notion of honor? Does your soul seethe, or does it merely regret your doings? How are we to give any value to this double suicide? It is better that we don't talk about you.(less)
It is not much to say that a Bolano novel has the Bolano signature out and out. But loyal readers like myself can't miss that reaction after finishing...moreIt is not much to say that a Bolano novel has the Bolano signature out and out. But loyal readers like myself can't miss that reaction after finishing 'The Third Reich.' Yet again we see just how something can be made out of nothing, yet again we bang our heads against the misgivings of a nameless allegory, yet again the grip of reality is lost disarmingly enough for us to subscribe to its inevitability.(less)
Turkey as a polyphonic narration, as a multitude of ideas and desires. (The concordance of this notion with Indians' notions of India is the reason wh...moreTurkey as a polyphonic narration, as a multitude of ideas and desires. (The concordance of this notion with Indians' notions of India is the reason why Pamuk sells a lot here.)
Patchily done. Almost juvenile at times in its experimental vigour, although extracting, in some places, traces of a genius that Pamuk would later come to wield at will.
The heart of Pamuk's best novels - the return of the exiled man, or a man's quest / search for a woman, or both of these together, as in Snow and My Name is Red - is missing here. The problem is that none of the characters are vying for normative happiness (the tangible, non-fantastical variety), one that Pamuk romanticizes so beautifully in later novels, one that his best characters are willing to - contradictorily, of course - risk their lives for.
Pamuk's seems to be struggling in trying to find the balance between writing a psychological novel and a political novel. He has still not figured how both can be done simultaneously. (less)
Jonathan Franzen's The Correction, while undeserving of superlatives, is still a novel that does great service to that sub-caste of novels that we are...moreJonathan Franzen's The Correction, while undeserving of superlatives, is still a novel that does great service to that sub-caste of novels that we are now routinely tempted to think of as a thing in jeapardy: The Social American Novel. That it is not about a dystopian near future, not about the Holocaust or any war (could not have been about 9/11), not (explicitly and only) about American consumerism, not about multilateral addiction or unilateral depression, seems to make it a winner. Franzen's ambition, while no greater than broad-canvas realists across the world, appears gigantic because it was borne in 21st century America, in a literary scene already tired of Post-Modernism and kept hostage by the genius of a man - David Foster Wallace - about whom it was clear that no surpassing could be hoped for in another half century. The Corrections is a return to the novel in America. The novel of action and psychology and inner life, the novel of relationships and their development over time, the novel of family and society. The novel where sexual confusion, neurosis, psychosis, depression, consumerism, ismism - all are necessary seconds, not the main feature. The novel that is less interested in proving the writer's genius than in being - first and foremost - a novel. The novel of median human conduct, not a signifier to the median through extremities.
So this is the Great American Novel? The second best of the 20th century, as per the Modern Library? The underhanded warning th...moreSupremely underwhelmed.
So this is the Great American Novel? The second best of the 20th century, as per the Modern Library? The underhanded warning that the American Dream should have come with in the 1920s?
How is Gatsby 'Great' - can someone tell me that?
Intricacy...that's the word they use for this novel. 'Intricacy of pattern': is what F. Scott desired for it. Well, it is intricately patterned, right from the level of the sentence to that of the plot. But where is that galactic greatness, that aroma of a Classic, of something canonical?
Is it a case where the biography of the book sustains its greatness, not any quality inherent in the book? Are Americans just stupidly crazy about it?
How dry is a central character whose only notable assertion is the phrase 'old sport,' one that he quite non-intricately employs while communicating with other specimens of the same sex?
(I trust the Le Monde's list better now, with Lolita placed above Ulysses, and the formality of Gatsby allowed only at #46).
=== Please read Lolita again if you're looking for the intricately patterned Great American Novel. Gatsby makes even Humbert Humbert look great. ===(less)
An absurd sight of a sparrow hung from a string begins this unique tale of great paranoia and even greater mental contrivance. The c...moreZuks! Confound me!
An absurd sight of a sparrow hung from a string begins this unique tale of great paranoia and even greater mental contrivance. The central idea is of how a chaotic world is routinely, perpetually, even grudgingly, willed by us human beings into some sort of an order, and how the effects of this willing add in turn to the chaos. Meaning thereby that man's position in the world, while necessarily that of an observer and a learner, is also, out of that same necessity, that of an actor too. The problem, therefore, is one of limits. And it is through ridiculing the limits that Gombrowicz creates his dark, nonsensical humor here.
The central mystery of the novel - who hung the sparrow? - swells to heady proportions, less through the circumstances but more through the neurotic zeal of the protagonist chasing the answers. The ogling detective has a strong agency of his own, and also a fantastic imagination, and through these he contaminates the scene - which, again, exists largely in his own head - beyond all recovery. In his un-moored consciousness, everything is at once the question as well as the answer. No end is plausible for this mystery, for the mind cultivates the mystery real-time.
Unless...unless of course there are cosmic interventions.
RECOMMENDED. Of the same league as Notes from the Underground, or Hunger.(less)