This volume consists of Eliot's first two poetry collections, Prufrock and Other Observations (1917) and Poems (1920), along with The Waste Land(1922)This volume consists of Eliot's first two poetry collections, Prufrock and Other Observations (1917) and Poems (1920), along with The Waste Land(1922). The first half of Prufrock and TWL are essential modernist poems. The very modern tension of isolation, cynicism, the longing for an idealized past, and a desperate, clinging hope for the future are perfectly encapsulated in Eliot's best early verse. Unfortunately, the second half of Prufrock and virtually all of Poems fail to maintain this standard. The anti-semitism of Poems is particularly disturbing. That said, The Waste Land should be required reading for anyone interested in modern and post-modern literature....more
In reading other goodreads reviews of this novel, I can agree with the general arguments of both camps. I've read reviews that were blown awa4.5 stars
In reading other goodreads reviews of this novel, I can agree with the general arguments of both camps. I've read reviews that were blown away by the novel's ambition. I am as well. I have read reviews that found the avalanche of footnotes and appendices simply overwhelming, if not distracting or outright boring. I can agree with that as well.
The main narrative itself is no great shakes. But then this novel is really much more than a B-grade horror story, isn't it? In that respect, I am completely impressed Danielewski's ambitions. I love that he parodies, mocks, and-in my opinion- pays homage to the notion of literary criticism. As a Borges fan-boy, the footnotes, many of them completely fabricated, give me a huge English-major smile. And in the Navidson Record section, where the main story is told in fits and starts, Danielewski's narrative is riveting. There are a handful of scenes that expertly filled me with a sense of dread. Any hack can write a horror scene filled with blood and guts and general grossness. It takes more talent to create a scene where a child's drawing of a black square on an otherwise blank page creates a palpable tension. There are several such moments.
Where I had problems with the book lie in Johnny Truant's drug-filled rants and in certain parts of the appendices which end the novel. I don't mind drug-filled rants, mind you. But Truant's are boring and they take away from an otherwise compelling narrative in a way that most of the other footnotes do not. I give Danielewski credit for the narrative ambition; he's walking a highwire. I simply feel that in these sections, he falls. Also, in the appendices, there are things there that I simply felt were there to show off. I got a sense of "Look how clever I am" in reading the Truant poetry and the endless list of extraneous quotations. And this may be a fault that lies with me as I find this in a lot of post-modern novels. Maybe I'm just missing the boat. I don't like the Truant poetry section because it is- again this is purely subjective- bad poetry. I don't like quotations section because they were more than adequately represented within the narrative section itself.
Having said, that, I remain very impressed with Danieleski's ambition and scope. This was not an easy read and I appreciate that I had no problem, for the most part, with jumping through the hoops asked of me by the author (Those of you who've read the novel, I'm specifically referring to one of the letters written by Truant's mother). You know, Borges always shunned writing novels because he felt the type of stories he told could never maintain their effectiveness over such a length. Danielewski writes a similar type of fiction and he comes as close to maintaining that Borgesian effectiveness as anyone I've read. ...more
3 1/2 stars Fitzgerald's first novel suffers from the comparison to his later masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. Gatsby packs an efficient, powerful punch3 1/2 stars Fitzgerald's first novel suffers from the comparison to his later masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. Gatsby packs an efficient, powerful punch and my first reading of it knocked me off my feet. TSOP contains stretches of prolonged brilliance but also contains long stretches of aimlessness. Now, I realize this may be one of the points of the novel but it left me feeling rather distanced from the plot, such as it is, and especially Amory Blaine, the protagonist. I don't feel a protagonist need be likable but he/she/it should be interesting for the entirety of the narrative. At several points, I lost interest in Amory's preoccupation with himself, which, again, I understand is part of the point of the book. I promise I get it. I just found chunks of it uninteresting. That said, Fitzgerald's writing is often sensational and his inclusion of different narrative styles, intended to more fully encompass the minds of the characters, is often successful, if jarring at times. It is an impressive debut for Fitzgerald but I'm glad to know he got much, much better....more
Faulkner's written-for-the-money "pot boiler" suffers only in comparison with the author's best work. Absalom, Absalom and As I Lay Dying are transcenFaulkner's written-for-the-money "pot boiler" suffers only in comparison with the author's best work. Absalom, Absalom and As I Lay Dying are transcendent modernist novels (I've not yet read The Sound and the Fury but its reputation is just as esteemed). Sanctuary is merely excellent....more