this book was a little more convincing than the one about lewis carroll being jack the ripper (which was intended as purely nonfiction, not "i dont ha...morethis book was a little more convincing than the one about lewis carroll being jack the ripper (which was intended as purely nonfiction, not "i dont have enough facts to not get in trouble passing this off as scholarship so its a novel") but lets be honest, the lewis carroll was a lot more fun...this book is fine, it raises some interesting questions about the literary origins at least... as for the murrrrderrrrs... well that part is less convincing but at least it is never boring...(less)
i want to say this is great, but it just didnt move me enough to be great. and i love steve erickson, but its a much less...complicated plot than any...morei want to say this is great, but it just didnt move me enough to be great. and i love steve erickson, but its a much less...complicated plot than any ive read of his, which might be why i didnt engage in it fully. also ive never been a fan of the "inactive damaged forrest gumpy life swirls around it". hero. (yet i love hamlet...) i dont know - the sea came in at midnight is one of those books. i had an intense physical reaction to it. as it started coming together, there was a moment my heart started going faster and my skin started crawling. doesnt happen often. magnetic fields, lost scrapbook, infinite jest... when they start unfolding (for me) i feel it, i get excited; they are perfect books. and this one was less than that. but i also have the flu, so who knows...(less)
ugh. im not sure if its just me being ill and not able to concentrate, but this was kind of a mess, with moments of beautiful clarity which made me wa...moreugh. im not sure if its just me being ill and not able to concentrate, but this was kind of a mess, with moments of beautiful clarity which made me want to keep reading, but mostly moments of sludgy confusing motives and a very distancing narrative. i say no thank you.(less)
im pretty neutral about this book. it was a fine sortof historical mystery with all the requisite elements like red herrings and dubious intentions an...moreim pretty neutral about this book. it was a fine sortof historical mystery with all the requisite elements like red herrings and dubious intentions and misread signals and girls tied up and whipped, but... eh. and im torn, because it is a perennial table book, but i think i might have to regulate its inclusion from now on, because in my opinion, it is all right but no great shakes. maybe people who are really into freud would like it more than i. this is me being too early for class and writing in the computer lab... maybe i wil let my impressions ferment and write a more full-bodied review this evening. now i must learn!
nope - nothing fruitful came from the fermenting. and i didnt learn anything except that this teacher presupposes a certain computer-vocabulary which i lack, and i am skeered that i will not be the best student in this class. and now i am ill and have a fever and i can only assume i caught swine flu from my computer class. rrrr(less)
** edit to include excerpt because it is hard to explain how painful this book is without making you guys feel it, too. **
no. this book is not for me....more ** edit to include excerpt because it is hard to explain how painful this book is without making you guys feel it, too. **
no. this book is not for me. but i learned the value of maybe not just buying every book with a nice cover, or put out by dalkey, or that sounds mildly interesting on the back copy. dana gives the two-page test. maybe i should use that once in a while. because i would never never have bought this one. it is so heavily stylized with repetition and insanely neurotic narratorial voice that you never feel you are making any progress. i thought maybe i would read it aloud a little to see if it helped, but it just made me feel like i was dr suess' older, less successful embittered brother. there are different books for different people... some people read to learn things, some read for escapism, some read to feel like they are trapped in the mind of a demented norwegian painter. if you are in the last category, might i recommend this book? it might be just the thing for you. for me, i require a fluid storytelling technique and a certain accessibility to the story itself that doesn't seem like in order to get to it, i have to pass fairy-tale style tasks like clearing the brambles to get to it. but i am a lazy american. sorry, fosse, you've been banished.
this is what this book is like. had i opened up TO ANY PAGE i would have known this and have been able to avoid it. it gives me a headache.
And Mr. Winckelmann pulls Helene toward the door and I have to just sit quietly and watch while Mr. Winckelmann takes my darling Helene away from me, Mr. Winckelmann is pulling my darling Helene away from me forever, he is pulling my darling Helene with him, he is pulling her out of the room I rented in Mrs. Winckelmann's apartment, he is grabbing the arm of my darling Helene hard and pulling her away from me and while Mr. Winckelmann is pulling my darling Helene away from me Mrs. Winckelmann just stands in the doorway and watches. My darling Helene is being pulled out of the room by her arm. And he can't do that. And I have to just sit here. And my father is standing over by the window and watching Mr. Winckelmann pull Helene out of the room. My father is staring at Mr. Winckelmann who is pulling my darling Helene out of the room. My darling Helene is being pulled out of the room forever, away from me, away from me forever. And my father doesn't say anything, he just stands there with his cap in his hand,in his wooden shoes, he stands there and watches Mr. Winckelmann pull my darling Helene away from me. And Elizabeth, my darling sister Elizabeth, why are you just standing there and looking up at Mr. Winckelmann??
and on and on and on for the whole book. i was so glad to see the end of this one, i tell you.(less)
i cant help it, i love byron. i have about 30 books here that fictionalize his life and work and discourtesies. and most of them look like cheap roman...morei cant help it, i love byron. i have about 30 books here that fictionalize his life and work and discourtesies. and most of them look like cheap romance novels, but i can't help it; i love the clubfooted bastard. even when they are bad. and this one is bad. byron as a vampire?? how could this story go off the tracks, you wonder?? well, it does. pretty spectacularly. and i own the sequel too, and i will read it because i cannot resist! i'm just glad i can read pretty quickly, so i am able to indulge myself these little distractions from good taste and sensible reading. someday soon i will embark upon my byronathon and read all these old mass markets with their blue-tinted pages and see if any of them deserve to be back in print, or if it was meant to protect us all...(less)
the best books sometimes prove to you how little you know about - well, everything, in my case. for example, i know very little about the theatre. i d...morethe best books sometimes prove to you how little you know about - well, everything, in my case. for example, i know very little about the theatre. i don't have a problem with theater, i just haven't read many plays, because i think they are a little awkward to read, rather than experiencing as an audience member, and if anyone wants to finance my foray into theater in new york, be my guest. because it is a hindrance to my overall education. when i read black snow, i thought to myself, "this would probably be more side-splitting if i knew anything about stanislavsky". and that is what i felt reading this book - i do not know anything about brecht, but now i feel like i should.
this brecht fellow sounds like a fascinating guy, and i'm pretty sure i own mother courage, at least, so i can check that out soon. it is invigorating and enervating the the same time to now have even more books to add to the neverending list of books i still have to acquire and read. thanks so much, steinmetz.
here are some nice quotes:
in theatre the director tells you to forget you're on stage, while outside they tell you you have to try to act like this or that even if you don't feel like it. it's almost the same thing. when an actor has difficulty playing a role, the solution is simple: become the character, you are told. be the character and stop acting. in life, when you feel bad, friends tell you: try to at least act as if you're happy. and finally: believe in yourself. art and life are two different worlds that share the same stage. the world is a stage, yes, but art is not life, and life is not art. from early on i was in a hurry. i ran straight onto the stage, then continued in a line, off the stage, without expecting there to be any difference. that's how i got called a natural.
ech, make that one nice quote, the other was too long and i got halfway through before i realized it might only be nice to me, but pompous to others...you can read the book yourselves if you are really interested.
i am curious about how much of this "fictional memoir" is factual. it doesn't matter, really, but it is just an idle curiosity. it is really a beautiful story, chronicling the life of the author's great-aunt as she was in her youth, her involvement in brecht's theater, what she became as an old woman, and the story of her escape from nazi germany while the author's own story is weaving in-between all of it without somehow breaking the flow. it is really a lovely and sad and well-written story, and i thank you again bill thompson for sending it to me!!
also - gaspereau press makes some of the best-designed books ever.
this will be my goodreads reading challenge goal-meeting book!! unless i change my goal again. but i don't have much time left...
'twas the...morethis will be my goodreads reading challenge goal-meeting book!! unless i change my goal again. but i don't have much time left...
'twas the week before christmas and all through the apartment, not a creature was stirring except for this varmint.
he jumped onto the bed and slapped me in the face and said - "reading the same book for a week? let's pick up the pace!!"
he continued his abuse, kicking me in the spine, and eventually gave up any pretense of rhyme.
seriously - it took me nearly a week to finish this book. and it's not entirely my fault - between baking and shopping and wrapping and being worn down to a nubbin from retail christmas overwork, there has just been little to no time for leisure reading. the times and places i usually carved out for such pursuits seemed to be replaced by power naps or quiet but sustained groaning as all the muscles in my legs locked up. plus the print was small. get off my lawn!
but enough about my problems, even though since i haven't reviewed in a week, i assume you have all been missing me like crazy and want to know every last sensation i have experienced in our time apart.
here i am.
man, it took me a while to get into this book. at first, i was scratching my head saying, "why have all my friends given this such high ratings?? it is good, but it isn't amazing...."
but finally, something clicked. and it was probably just my aforementioned distractions and abbreviated attention-span, and my compromised death-in-waking state for much of the week holding me back for the first half of the book.
because this book is very good. and this author has done his byron-scholarship, thank god.
the best thing about this book is that it actually does seem to interlock with the known facts of the relationship between shelley and byron and, to a lesser extent trelawney, polidori, and keats. and some hunt. and a mention of hobhouse.the facts are all there, and this book just fills in the gaps and shifts the motivations somewhat.
but byron is wonderful in it - not the cookie cutter evil genius he so frequently is in he hands of authors, or as the reverse - a misunderstood sweetie-pie hiding behind aggressive acts because he wants to be looooved. this was a perfect representation for me - an actual human-shaped character instead of an icon. even shelley is given nobility, in a way that makes me finally able to respect him. so, basically, what i am saying is that i have decided to treat this novel as true-biography, vampires and all. the poetry chosen as chapter-headers seems to support my decision; that there was this whole secret underworld to which the great poets belonged - enhancing their poetry and draining them of their humanity, coursing through the subtext of their words in coded confessions.
additionally, there are some wonderful gruesome moments, and i do appreciate an author who doesn't mind putting his characters through the wringer, both physically and emotionally. no one gets out unscathed, and there are so many unexpected outcomes.still ashamed that it took me so long to read it, but i am very pleased otherwise. one of the better "books starring byron."
thank you, tim powers. and thank you, maureen!(less)