i need to read this again i need to read this again i need to read this again.
i can see it up there on my shelves, trapped between Songdogs: A Novel and...morei need to read this again i need to read this again i need to read this again.
i can see it up there on my shelves, trapped between Songdogs: A Novel and Brightness Falls and in my, "i should review all my favorite books, especially the ones it will be frustrating for people to be able to get," burst of energy, here we all are.
and i am wanting desperately to read this again.
this book should be among the seven wonders of the modern world. yes, we all love the chunnel - it is superfast and all, but this is a superfast chunnel of words. this book will make your mind come. it is astonishing.
but it is not for everyone, truly.
it is not a tidily told tale that will wrap up at the end. it is a book you have to both work with and work for. but it isn't complicated in the way that finnegan's wake is - i personally never got the sense that someone was deliberately trying to make me angry. it is more ambitious in the way that house of leaves is, or infinite jest. it sprawls, massively, like a panda bear on its back showing you its goods. but it isn't going to perform for you - you are going to be responsible for making a lot of the connections yourself. i found it way more satisfying than house of leaves, and pretty much the equal of IJ, although i have only read this one the one time. (i need to read this again.) it has a lot of that lynchean "why don't you tell me what this is about attitude, which makes it both a taunt and a challenge, and leaves a rush of accomplishment singing through the veins.
reading this is like when you are young and stoned, and you are walking down the street, overhearing snippets of conversation, reading graffiti, hearing lyrics of songs coming from out of windows of cars going by and you start picking up on patterns, man, and how all of this surrounding noise relates to you - the center of the universe, naturally, and you start coming up with silent theories about what everything you are seeing and hearing is trying to tell you. only this time, it's all real. this is carefully balanced. this is like a game of memory, and these are echoes and reverberations throughout, like in sea came in at midnight. but this book is more disjointed, more of a mist of words you just happen to find yourself in. i have a pretty big aversion to clever for clever's sake, and this one never felt that way to me, it is simply clever. it is a book i just came across on my own, read it, and felt like this was something life changing and necessary that spooked me a little. i read it pretty much right when it came out, just based on the title and premise alone, and it was only years later that i realized what a cult this book had surrounding it. and what mysteries lay cloaked around its authorship.
i need to read this again. i should stop writing this and go read it, but i gotta read a couple of other books first...
but i vow to read this again before the end of the month. one of you people should track it down and read it with me. (less)
this book made me wet myself. twice. i wish to god i was exxagerating. or elderly. but poor dfw on a cruise ship... no one has ever paired genius with...morethis book made me wet myself. twice. i wish to god i was exxagerating. or elderly. but poor dfw on a cruise ship... no one has ever paired genius with social awkwardness more charmingly. (less)
okay, i am going to try to harness this simmering undercurrent of interest in donald harington that i spy with my little eye here on goodreads.com to...more okay, i am going to try to harness this simmering undercurrent of interest in donald harington that i spy with my little eye here on goodreads.com to build it into a rolling boil!!!
yes. donald harington. yes.
do i frequently get enthusiastic here on goodreads.com?? do i bark at the mailman, chase balls, and develop a fondness for legs? guilty, yes. but besides dfw, who is my soul, who are the big three?? jonathan carroll, thomas hardy, and dear donald harington. that is not to say that other-enthusiasm is false or fleeting or unwarranted, but these three authors tame my beast and make me stop yipping and running in circles, and absorb all my attention as i curl up and get lost in their words for a few hours.
i am abandoning this metaphor...now!
so this book. if you are not going to follow my advice and read them all in order, this is probably the best starting point. i'm not a doctor, i don't know what's best for you, but i feel like i am qualified to make a recommendation based on loving donald harington more than most people. this book covers many generations of the ingledew family,just one of the families harington dreamed up before lovingly crafting and effortlessly detailing their lives and speech and motives. reading this will give you teasers about other characters, other places, right places, but will not give away too many surprises along the way. when i read this book, i did so after having only read one other of his books (choiring of the trees), and i put it down, thinking - "man, i wish i knew more about _____." or "_________was such a great character - i could read a whole book about her."
one of my favorite parts of this book is the focus of an entire other book!! how many authors will do that for you?? did dickens write a whole novel about the origin story of miss havisham from her perspective?? no he did not, selfish man. harington knew what we wanted and he gave it to us.
you will learn about buildings,yes, but you will learn about the people whose lives revolved around those buildings; you will wish this book had been your history textbook in elementary school because even though it is not real, it feels real. harington is that good at creating a world - a town with people whose lives sometimes work magic but always always entertain.
i feel like a literary explorer out here. i need him to be more known and loved than he is - i want this to be my gift to goodreads.com.
he is not an author to miss out on, but he is an author to miss. terribly.(less)
i have tried to review this book on four separate occasions. for some reason, this is one of the most diffcult books for me to defend...morehappy canada day!
i have tried to review this book on four separate occasions. for some reason, this is one of the most diffcult books for me to defend to others and to justify to myself.
on the one hand, it's leonard cohen. enough said.
on the other hand, i can be objective when it comes to him. dear heather is a crap album. there, i said it. i'm sorry, but the world did not need a 9/11 song from him, it is terrible terrible terrible.
on the other hand, it's leonard cohen.
you see my plight? as a piece of literature, this has a ton of failings, but the bright spots are scouring.
leonard cohen has a way with words that can annihilate me. he has a song i cannot even listen to because it takes everything i hate about myself and puts it to music, and it is an exquisite torture i can only permit myself when i am in the blackest of moods.
there are portions of this novel that i am in awe of:
it has the most devastating passive-aggressive suicide of all time, and its ultimate failure as a gesture is more powerful to me than anything i have ever read. this is not a spoiler, because that is not what the book is about.
so, what is it about? well, it is mishmash catalog of a scholar's griefs, obsessions, betrayals, recollections, and erotic fascinations. it swerves through time in a way that a more experienced novelist, someone with greater control over the long-form, could perhaps have turned into something more successful, but even with all of its flaws, it remains a favorite of mine.
cohen is not a master storyteller. he is a master wordsmith, and many of his songs operate perfectly well as poetic short stories; chelsea hotel, story of isaac, seems so long ago, nancy, but even though there are passages here that completely stop my heart,overall this book is an experimental novel that overextends itself and never becomes a novel, just a series of episodes that tie together, but doesn't add anything to the canon of great experimental novels.
so, why is it among my favorites?
he may not have the gas to be a master novelist, but as a sprinter, there is no one better with words.i wanted to include a quotation here, a passage that always makes me stuns me with its power, but i realized today that the "passage" is actually pages 57-61. and there ain't no way i am going to type all that out. but just know that he out-lolita's lolita in the "making young girls seem attractive" sense. nabokov never convinced me to become a humbert, but cohen makes some good points. more romance novelists should take their cues from his erotic finesse, because he is the only writer who has ever made me appreciate that words can be very sexy, even if i have no personal desire to go after little girls.
and with all cohen's work, the erotic is so intertwined with the spiritual, it never reads as tawdry. maybe not as classy here as some of his other erotic works, but not as grotesque as other writers with less restraint would come across.
this is a fucking mess of a review. i don't know why i even tried, except i saw this book from across the room and thought it might be time to actually try to review it. and now that i have written so much, it seems a shame to just scrap it.
let's just call this the ramblings of a lunatic and leave it at that. (less)
mmokay - i put up the publishers description, and now i write a review so jen can use this in her book club. i read this in college so my details are...moremmokay - i put up the publishers description, and now i write a review so jen can use this in her book club. i read this in college so my details are not perfect, but i remember loving it. its about mothers trying to get their daughters married, and the lengths they will go to to accomplish this. its like an old time-y version of cheerleader or beauty pageant moms. there is a lot of scheming and betrayals and backstabbing, but under the guise of these sweet convent girls and their pretty dresses and balls. what i remember so strongly were all the comparisons to battle - the dresses and hair and makeup were like armour to conquer the enemy, or prospective husband. i also remember it being compared to chess. i would like to reread this, when i am finished reading all the baby books i have to read for my summer class. but - yes - book club this and let me know if you like it.(less)