Thomas Pynchon is the kind of author you read for the sheer brilliance of his prose. V. is a profoundly twisted and confounding book, throwing in storThomas Pynchon is the kind of author you read for the sheer brilliance of his prose. V. is a profoundly twisted and confounding book, throwing in story lines and characters from so many different directions and time periods that it's impossible to always understand what's happening. Some chapters rely too heavily on form and too little on content, causing them to drag a bit, but most of Pynchon's first novel, especially the chapters that focus on the "Whole Sick Crew," is delightful and pleasantly challenging to read. It may be the kind of book that makes absolute sense the second time around, but it's going to be a while before I tackle it again, so for now, I recommend reading it for the insight into the mind of one the 20th century's most talented writers, and don't worry too much if you're totally lost every now and then....more
The Great Gatsby is your neighbor you're best friends with until you find out he's a drug dealer. It charms you with some of the most elegant EnglishThe Great Gatsby is your neighbor you're best friends with until you find out he's a drug dealer. It charms you with some of the most elegant English prose ever published, making it difficult to discuss the novel without the urge to stammer awestruck about its beauty. It would be evidence enough to argue that F. Scott Fitzgerald was superhuman, if it wasn't for the fact that we know he also wrote This Side of Paradise.
But despite its magic, the rhetoric is just that, and it is a cruel facade. Behind the stunning glitter lies a story with all the discontent and intensity of the early Metallica albums. At its heart, The Great Gatsby throws the very nature of our desires into a harsh, shocking light. There may never be a character who so epitomizes tragically misplaced devotion as Jay Gatsby, and Daisy, his devotee, plays her part with perfect, innocent malevolence. Gatsby's competition, Tom Buchanan, stands aside watching, taunting and provoking with piercing vocal jabs and the constant boast of his enviable physique. The three jostle for position in an epic love triangle that lays waste to countless innocent victims, as well as both Eggs of Long Island. Every jab, hook, and uppercut is relayed by the instantly likable narrator Nick Carraway, seemingly the only voice of reason amongst all the chaos. But when those boats are finally borne back ceaselessly by the current, no one is left afloat. It is an ethical massacre, and Fitzgerald spares no lives; there is perhaps not a single character of any significance worthy even of a Sportsmanship Award from the Boys and Girls Club.
In a word, The Great Gatsby is about deception; Fitzgerald tints our glasses rosy with gorgeous prose and a narrator you want so much to trust, but leaves the lenses just translucent enough for us to see that Gatsby is getting the same treatment. And if Gatsby represents the truth of the American Dream, it means trouble for us all. Consider it the most pleasant insult you'll ever receive....more
Cormac McCarthy uses his minimalist style to great effect in No Country for Old Men, making for an unstoppable and fascinating read. Most enticing perCormac McCarthy uses his minimalist style to great effect in No Country for Old Men, making for an unstoppable and fascinating read. Most enticing perhaps is the villain character Chigurh, defined by an inconquerable will and a penchant for philosophical musings delivered to his future victims. The pitting of Chigurh against Llewelyn Moss reminded me of the dynamics between Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in 3:10 to Yuma, featuring an antagonist who demanded respect and a protagonist who wasn't perfect but won over your sympathies. Any scene featuring either of the two is impossible to stop reading. Hats of to McCarthy for grabbing hold and not letting go....more
I have also read Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and the legendary Slaughterhouse-Five, and I believe this, Mother Night, to be the finest amongI have also read Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and the legendary Slaughterhouse-Five, and I believe this, Mother Night, to be the finest among them. Mother Night couples the reliably brilliant writing style of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. with a truly fascinating story. It is a beautiful, darkly comic investigation of the warped human psyche, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone....more