I can't say that I'd read this book again, though I am glad that I read it. I'm also not in the hurry to read any Dostoevsky any time soon, but I coulI can't say that I'd read this book again, though I am glad that I read it. I'm also not in the hurry to read any Dostoevsky any time soon, but I could be convinced otherwise. The prose is a little foreign to my modern eyes, though it is wonderful to see a master of his craft like Dostoevsky at work. The novel is an excellent representation of the style of the period. Further, the themes of the book, broad and universal as they are, put more solipsistic contemporary writers to shame. The ending does not seem forced, trite or dictated by the desires of the audience. Rather, Dostoevsky seems to want to explore the role of redemption. The ending of the book is more important than the build up to it and makes one identify with the suffering of the protagonist in an emotionally powerful manner. ...more
Possibly the best, but certainly the most "Ballardian" of all J.G. Ballard novels, this book is famously about eroticism and car crashes. Of course, iPossibly the best, but certainly the most "Ballardian" of all J.G. Ballard novels, this book is famously about eroticism and car crashes. Of course, it's about much more than that, with other themes including the eroticization of commercialism, sexual taboos and the neurosis of Britain's "creative classes." The latter begins a trend that made Ballard's work more and more repetitive and less and less interesting toward the end of his career, while the first two had been par for the course starting around the late-1960s.
Unlike the (allegedly) more "Ballardian" work The Atrocity Exhibition, this is actual a coherent story and a relatively traditional novel. A doctor becomes caught up in a world of high-speed driving and a sexual cult centering around sex and car crashes. The doctor (James Ballard) becomes increasingly caught up in a world of middle class deviants led by the strange and sinister Dr. Robert Vaughn.
It's hard to recommend this book to anyone, because you either like Ballard or you don't, and this isn't exactly the best place to start liking him."The crushed body of the sportscar had turned her into a being of free and perverse sexuality, releasing within its dying chromium and leaking engine-parts, all the deviant possibilities of her sex" is an excellent example of what the prose in this book reads like, and many of the descriptions of physical mutilations are particularly disturbing when penned by former medical student Ballard.
Ballard on why he wrote the novel: "I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror." Whether or not you are attracted to or disgusted by such a statement will tell you whether or not you should read this. ...more
This it pretty much where Chuck Palahniuk lost me. The first 150 page are gold. You fully expect him to deliver on his promise of being a horror writeThis it pretty much where Chuck Palahniuk lost me. The first 150 page are gold. You fully expect him to deliver on his promise of being a horror writer, and...
Nothing. Just more of the same old patented Palahniuk wank. Don't get me wrong. I loved Fight Club and Invisible Monsters but Choke and Survivor were some serious one trick pony shit. Lullaby really struck a chord with me. Palahniuk seemed to be finding his legs. By Diary the charm has totally worn off and it's strictly for the cult. I barely cracked Haunted and haven't been back since, though I am sort of curious what the old boy has been up to these days.
TRUFAX: I met the man twice, once by purpose, once by chance. ...more
A real favorite of mine written by perhaps my favorite living author.
This is a historical fiction novel about the Kennedy Assassination. Lee Harvey OA real favorite of mine written by perhaps my favorite living author.
This is a historical fiction novel about the Kennedy Assassination. Lee Harvey Oswald is an engagingly sociopathic loner, angry at the injustices of society and frustrated by his lack of a connection to history. The story is a metanarrative (har har) as told by the main reviewing the CIA's entire case files on the subject. Many points of view are utilized from the vast palette of JFK conspiriana. For fans of Don Delillo and assassination buffs alike, Delillo crafts a surprisingly believable version of actual events.
It's a thick, but surprisingly readable book with well-rounded characters and a compelling story set against the backdrop of one of the most important events for the American psyche in recent history. Kennedy is almost entirely absent from the book, as is Jim Garrison, but the rest of the gang are there and talking to each other like characters in a Don Delillo novel. ...more
I can never decide if this or Libra are my favorite Delillo novel. I know, I know. I'm an idiot for picking this slim and sle"OMG IT'S ABOUT FOOTBALL"
I can never decide if this or Libra are my favorite Delillo novel. I know, I know. I'm an idiot for picking this slim and sleepy tome (about football) from an oeuvre that includes big, heavy books like Underworld.
Unlike most people, I was instantly intrigued by this tale of football as a metaphor for nuclear war. Delillo, of course, makes the tape run both ways. Nuclear war is also a metaphor for football. Gary Harkness is the perfect Delillo antihero, and the rest of his team are priceless as confused, dim-witted Southern football players awash in a world of Don Delillo dialogue and general hijinks. There are other bizarre characters you'll meet along the way, like Gary's fat girlfriend who only reads novels by a Mongolian science fiction writer and the nuke-crazed ROTC commander. This is my Dr. Strangelove.
Amazing journalism from one of the foremost writers of the 20th Century. I'd give up writing if Mailer weren't 20 years older than me when he wrote thAmazing journalism from one of the foremost writers of the 20th Century. I'd give up writing if Mailer weren't 20 years older than me when he wrote this. It's literally so tightly written that if you fancy yourself a "writer" you're going to hang your head in shame. Say what you will about the man, Norman Mailer can write his ass off.
The book tells in intimate detail, the story of the "Rumble in the Jungle," the Frasier-Ali fight that took place in Zaire under the height of Mobutuism. Mailer deeply understands the psychology and politics of boxing, making these the center of his drama. The fight takes up a mere chapter and is painstakingly painted without ever being boring. On the contrary, it may be the highlight of his book.
Sports fans and those who marvel as seamless craftsmanship should check this book out. And maybe Diane Arbus fans. ...more
The Talented Mr. Ripley, the first in a series of books by Strangers on a Train author Patricia HighsmiThe movie was so close... and yet so far away.
The Talented Mr. Ripley, the first in a series of books by Strangers on a Train author Patricia Highsmith, is the tale of sociopath and identity thief Tom Ripley. The book portrays the mind of the sociopath and narcissist with precision, only occasionally dipping into cliche -- for example Ripley's homosexuality, more a product of social prejudices of the 1950s than anything. Tom is more than just a sociopath, however. He is a man from humble beginnings who craves the finer things in life and sees no reason why chance of birth and history should deprive him of those things. He's also a genius in the manner of the criminally insane. The ending -- which I will not give away -- pulls no punches and doesn't attempt to sugar coat things for the audience or to put the reader's mind at ease. Hats off to Ms. Highsmith for that.
I am rarely interested in series and sequels, but I am interested to see what becomes of Tom Ripley....more
This one is exactly like the movie. Which, considering the movie, really isn't that bad.
Sam Spade and a rogue's gallery of globe-trotting grifters viThis one is exactly like the movie. Which, considering the movie, really isn't that bad.
Sam Spade and a rogue's gallery of globe-trotting grifters vie for the ultimate maguffin. Those who like noir film, interwar American culture or esoteric pseudo-history (Crying of Lot 49 fans?) will appreciate this book. The only real difference between the book and the (Hayes Code period) film is the frankness absent from the film. In the book, femme vital Effie Perrine doesn't cryptically breathe "Gardenias..." She says "He's a queer."
Immensely readable, a real page turner, the more disciplined among you could have a great Saturday afternoon with this book and move on to The Talented Mr. Ripley the next day. ...more
I was disappointed by this book, though the second half makes up for a bit of the disappointment. Long White Con marks the second appearance of IceberI was disappointed by this book, though the second half makes up for a bit of the disappointment. Long White Con marks the second appearance of Iceberg Slim's possibly real acquaintance, Johnny O'Brien AKA White Folks. Folks is an extremely light-skinned black man with blue eyes, the son of a mixed-race couple. Named "White Folks" by a fellow con artist because no white person would ever go by that name.
The first half of the book involves a semi-complicated and not very interesting long con with a pretty flat cast of characters. The second half shows Folks in his element, doing the long con his way. But the ending just seals the deal. The lessons to be learned about "the life" are not trite, saccharine or ultimately meaningful. They serve as cautionary tales, not morality plays, showing the ephemeral nature of the highs and the nagging consequences of the lows.
Slim speaks the language of the street in a manner similar to Charles Bukowski or Hubert Selby, Jr. This, as well as his own personal narrative, are what make his stories so real and compelling. ...more
First of all, my favorite film of all time is "Blade Runner" which has basically nothing to do with this book. They're both great, but entirely differFirst of all, my favorite film of all time is "Blade Runner" which has basically nothing to do with this book. They're both great, but entirely different works of art with different themes and focuses.
That said, this book may be PKD's best. The usual themes -- gnosticism, the difference between a perfect copy and the real thing and the end of the world -- are all explored here. Dick's strength comes not in crafting compelling characters, but coming up with original ideas, interesting ways to explore those ideas and fully fleshing out the world his characters inhabit. One thing that I enjoy about this book that is totally absent from the film is the reverence for life of any kind, particularly the smallest and weakest. This plot element is particularly poignant as we get closer and closer to another mass extinction.
A great place for interested people to start reading PKD. ...more