Goat Mountain closes out Vann's autobiographical tetralogy and it's obvious the material has now run its course.
Whilst the author absolutely masters tGoat Mountain closes out Vann's autobiographical tetralogy and it's obvious the material has now run its course.
Whilst the author absolutely masters the eerie monolithic silence between fathers and sons he has proved yet again that actual dialogue is his Achilles heel.
Not only that, the plot of Goat Mountain could have been condensed into an eighty page novella. The rest is edifice, beautiful tone and verse to be true, but dressing something that you feel is never really there. It's style over substance and may be Vann's least sucessful, and at the same time, most starkly artistic work. I'd never quite got the comparisons to Cormac McCarthy but in Goat Island's Old Testament-isms the author's forebear is well present and that's saying nothing of the veiled use of the central conceit of 2005's The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (the best film plot never written by McCarthy).
While it's obviously time for Vann to move on if every author gets their first for free, Vann has had a charitable start.
I itch to get my hands on any new Cormac work as soon as it it's released and this was no exception. I'm not sure though how to rate The Counsellor. II itch to get my hands on any new Cormac work as soon as it it's released and this was no exception. I'm not sure though how to rate The Counsellor. I don't read that many screenplays and found myself at times reading it as a novel which is unfair to both author and work. That aside I did find that at times I felt I was reading earlier works by C.Mac, mostly No Country for Old Men. There are the welcome and familiar tricks and punctuation-frugal bleakness but on the most part I felt I was reading something harvested and hen-pecked from prior triumphs. There is also a deep resonance with John Sayles' 2013 film Go For Sisters.
Perhaps the author has earnt his reduced duties. He's eighty now and he hasn't released a novel since 2006. Perhaps we won't be blessed with another. That there is a very sad thing. It may be all plays and screenplays from here on in. Perhaps it's time to re-read his works. Still, he could release a dried turd and I'd be putting in my advance order....more
Proper review coming. For now, some small thoughts...
Firstly, I feel so conflicted by this book. I wish I could post about it without having to give iProper review coming. For now, some small thoughts...
Firstly, I feel so conflicted by this book. I wish I could post about it without having to give it a star rating. Is it important? Ultimately, I don't think so, other than for literature professors and historians and for people who think reading choice is about demonstrating how intelligent you are. Is it a masterpiece? It certainly is. Is it a big wank? Undeniably. Should you bother? In the time it takes to read IJ you could read many, many works of greater importance. Life is short.
Bageant's strong suit is the charting of the historical origins of the current plight of many Americans. There is however a distastefully pessimisticBageant's strong suit is the charting of the historical origins of the current plight of many Americans. There is however a distastefully pessimistic and woe-is-us-ness strain to this book. At no point does Bageant suggest that individual agency could hold a key for many of the less fortunate characters he profiles.
Sure, many of the US's social problems lie in the illusion that it is a meritocracy, that anyone can be president you just gotta try etc. but by the end of this book I had developed quite a disdain for his people. I grew up in the country myself, in a red-necked, impoverished part of Australia to lower middle class parents, went to public schools. I know what it feels like to be out of all the loops, however I found Bageant's attitude overly defeatist.
Additionally, I found the chapter on gun control utterly infuriating on so many levels. Added to all of this Bageant argues at one point that the northern liberals dismiss every idea and point of view emanating from The South as some hick clap-trap, that by caricaturing them, their opinions are rendered worthless. Yet throughout Deer Hunting with Jesus Bageant applies the converse approach to northern Democrats, typifying them variously as lily-livered, not knowing one end of a gun from the other, emotionally undone by any and every celebrity-lead campaign for animal or human rights, and on...
Three stars in this instance are for the insight into the American psyche and the social and military history of his people. None for the solutions offered or the stubborn redneck pride.
I bought this in lieu of Da Capo's Best Music Writing 2011 which I couldn't find on the day. The topics traversed and the artists considered by MoodyI bought this in lieu of Da Capo's Best Music Writing 2011 which I couldn't find on the day. The topics traversed and the artists considered by Moody (Otis Redding, Magnetic Field, Wilco, The Pogues, Arvo Part) seemed intriguing and I have not read any of his fiction. After three essays I put this down and will not return to it. Essentially Moody spends a lot of time trying to convince us that (1)Booze is bad; (2)Although he no longer drinks he was wild and crazy, and by implication cool and reputable as a writer and listener, once upon a time; and (3)His sobriety doesn't restrict in anyway his appreciation of all that life has to offer.