“Actors! The mechanics of cheap melodrama! That isn't death! You scream and choke and sink to your knees but it doesn't bring death home to anyone- it“Actors! The mechanics of cheap melodrama! That isn't death! You scream and choke and sink to your knees but it doesn't bring death home to anyone- it doesn't catch them unawares and start the whisper in their skulls that says- 'One day you are going to die.”
I didn't know anything about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead going in (Except having read Hamlet several times, and having the excellent recommendation from a friend) so what I believe this book is about and what it's intention may be, could possibly be at odds.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two minor characters in the play Hamlet, who seem to be killed in the last part of the play almost as an afterthought - brought to the forefront of this play. In this book, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are the major characters.
This play is more than anything, about the painful awareness of self and how to reconcile that with one's place in the universe. Occasionally Rosencrant or Guildenstern will address the audience angrily, or engage in games that seem to be bound more by cosmic laws than chance. If the coin is always "heads", which is an astronomically infinite possibility, than maybe the ensuing actions that follow cannot be swayed to change, no matter how impossible or absurd the "destiny" may seem.
But they continue to have to act, within this illusion of free will. This is best illustrated in their interactions with the actors, and the anger directed at them for not dying "real" deaths. Whilst demanding the actors to show them something real, when they themselves aren't real, either, precludes their own onscreen deaths. It's anger at circumstance, anger at destiny, and the desire for will outside of predetermination,
Hamlet himself makes occasional appearances that intersect with moments in the original play - but he's been reduced here to a bit character. He appears whirling into the play, intense and angry and a little absurd. He's become to this play what Rosencrant and Guildenstern were to him in "Hamlet."
Making us aware that each character has their own lens to which they view the story, which could make the hero either villainous, absurd, invisible, or meaningless.
Overall an excellent play, and one I'd like to see live.
I finished this book a week or so ago, but I always feel a little strange writing reviews or leaving star ratings for my friends. Well, here it goes.
TI finished this book a week or so ago, but I always feel a little strange writing reviews or leaving star ratings for my friends. Well, here it goes.
This is Garrett Cook's first true horror book, and I've been liking the direction he's gone from high-octane bizarro to more pared down, focused strangeness. It allows his voice to really shine through, when he isn't focused on the frantic pace of trotting out one oddity after another. And the voice in "A God of Hungry Walls" is precise. Each sentence feels poured over, and almost nothing is out of place. The voice that comes forth, is that of the "God of Hungry Walls" a sterile, precise, stunningly angry, and horrifyingly confident being that rules over a cadre of ghosts and puppets in his own personal realm.
The god is cruel, the book is horrifying and stomach-turning, the violent sex hypnotic. But what it has that many other torture and gore-porn books (besides the style) lack is that of an everpresent existential dread. This is not your party ghost. This is not something that can be fought. It is cosmic in its terror and the conclusion seems ultimate and unavoidable. And every time you think that maybe something will escape it, right up until the end, it reasserts its power.
I'm giving this four stars for some repetitive content and because I think Garrett can write something even better next time. Despite that, it's probably his best book yet....more
I'm still digesting this one. My first introduction to James Purdy (Although I have "In a Shallow Grave" sitting on my desk which I will pick up soon.I'm still digesting this one. My first introduction to James Purdy (Although I have "In a Shallow Grave" sitting on my desk which I will pick up soon.) has left me a bit confused and scattered. Although undoubtedly Purdy is a good writer, this book left a lot to be desired, with a wavering, unshaky plot and no seeming foothold to grab onto. Although Eustace Chisholm is the namesake of the book - he is not the main character so much as a central locus for the other characters to orbit around. Near the end of the book, Captain Stadger overshadows all the other characters, as he appears near of the book, sadistic and outrageous and out of place. He's seemingly a vehicle for Daniel to accept his desires wholeheartedly, but even in a book of outrageous and ostentatious characters, Captain Stadger is a bizarre addition. As a character study it seems lacking, each character appears only for a brief enough moment, for an outrageous scene, and then disappears again. For all of their brightness and loudness, the characters seem to fade as soon as they're introduced and disappear, never given quite enough depth to really be memorable. This hasn't turned me off Purdy completely, I'll still be checking out some of his other works....more