This is an excellent book. More Americans/ English speakers should read it. First, it crosses alSTARS STARS STARS STARS STARS STARS STARS--more later.
This is an excellent book. More Americans/ English speakers should read it. First, it crosses all sorts of genres, but not in that purposeful, book selling whorish way. I think it just has to do with the all-inclusive way Lukyanenko sees the world: it includes action/adventure car chases, science fiction,silver bullets, vampires, murders, people who can read minds, fantasy, magicians, adult behavior, interesting character development, hardcore urban life, subway confrontations, people who live for hundreds of years, philosophy, rock music, and, yes, romances. It's neither a girl nor a guy book. There are both well-drawn male and female characters--it's not full of James Bond bimbo caricatures.
I was surprised that Lukyanenko is Khazak: he's sort of noted in this series for his evoking a realistic portrayal of modern Moscow, and he lives there now. Many of its notable features figure in the story line, The ring road, certain subway stops, tourist attractions like the needle -Ostankino Tower, the old Arbat where Victor Tsoi was martyred, and which apparently now is a tourist trap selling bad coffee, and matroshka figures (those wooden nesting dolls? You've seen them.) with political faces. Understand: I've never been there, except in my night dreams. More than anything I've read though, this makes me feel as if I've been there.
I think it is the moral aspects ,the weight of consideration the narrator, Anton, gives to his decisions that makes this story soar, however, far above any genre. The old writer I feel in the background is Dostoyevski, an influence. It also creates great suspense, as we are never sure how the seeming good guy narrator, a member of the Light Others, the Night Watch, (Anton) will respond to the latest happenings around him or the role he will play (or avoid playing). We're never even sure how he feels about either the Night Watch, or their opponents, the Day Watch, the "Dark Others". He has sympathetic feelings for both their justifications for existence. Forever you feel in him what we all probably suffer daily--how much of our lives should be delivered to "THE GREATER GOOD" and what is necessary for our own happiness--even justified for our happiness? what do we all really deserve? Anton Gorodetski (does that translate child of the city? My limited Russian) is an outlier in the tradition of American action heroes like Clint Eastwood, Kane, Shane, et al., but he is most assuredly Russian in character, more of a thinker than the hair-trigger action of the American action hero.
I like how ultimately the real evil in this story derives from bureaucracy and man's provocation for utopia. Or is there ever any evil, really? See, that's what has me wanting to read the next book, which leaves Anton and comes from the perspective of the Day Watch. I wanna know what they think too. I don't know about the rest of the series--I do know there are several more, and I read a short excerpt from the latest one. So many books..so little..
BTW, if you're thinking: well, I saw the movie, it was cool. Or, I hear the movie is cool, I'll just watch that--hard enough, Russian with subtitles. Well it is. Cool. It's an excellent movie: both are. But, I have to say, more than most adaptations, the movie is quite, quite, quite different from the movie. Not just because they had to condense and leave details out the way movies do. I mean, besides the same characters? The settings? Almost everything else is different, including the literal ending-- maybe the spirit is intact. ??? I had no idea how the book was going to turn out even though I've watched the movie 3-4 times. In fact, I'm going to go re-watch it today just to see how much is different.
As I always say: someday, God willing, I'll read this in Russian. A Russian friend who is a Lukyanenko fan, too, told me, when I asked, what is the Russian word for "Other" ? This is the English translation for the magic ones in the story. He said, no, the writer doesn't call them другой (the sort of common word for "other" in Russian) : he calls them Иной, which is an ancient Slavic word --and probably is meant to reflect the ancient history of the Night Watch. See what I mean?
Of course Morrissey is a great writer: he is a great songwriter, and the types of songs he writes lend themselves into expansion into prose.He is greaOf course Morrissey is a great writer: he is a great songwriter, and the types of songs he writes lend themselves into expansion into prose.He is great on multiple levels: clarity of thought, complexity of idea, and fun play with words. Perspective? More on that later. He becomes a great writer in the same conventional way most writers become good: by being well-read and emulating the saints of literature. Moz's favorite is quite obviously Oscar Wilde, as he practically imitates him to illness, plus admiring other people of wit. Using his clever rhyme time word chords. He quotes himself rather liberally as well, and quotes other people quoting him. He also quotes from good movies, artists, and other musicians --he was a student of all arts it appears. But exceptionally so, music--too bad we couldn't have reached across the water to share our record collections while growing up in isolation. It would have been so fun. Rubber ring, rubber ring, rubber ring, rubber ring....
So fun. Like a rain-soaked car hiding under a dark underpass near Reading Gaol.
Okay, the boy's got a little ego, but who that is interesting doesn't? I enjoy calling him a boy, and think he would enjoy it as well--being as he is as self-conscious of aging, as he was earlier of being young and powerless as a schoolboy. I enjoy the tag for selfish reasons as well, as I am two weeks younger , and if he is still a boy, well. He seems to have never changed, really, which is another thing I admire in him--still trodding the death boards, brooding against the rotting wrought-iron cemetery fences, posing in languishing ecstasy over an imagined incompetence at being loved, playing dry word games.
I have to share a few favorite quotes, but I don't want to do this too much, since it will detract from reading the ebony black sparkle of the words in context when you read it. This one is attributed to his neighbor who heard him singing through the windows in Manchester:
"If you must sing every night, could you please sing something we know?"
Now this one rides right down the center line of everything I love about my boy. Creativity self-deprecated and unappreciated. You can hear the snap and crackle of missed synapses with those around him in a way that I can relate. It makes his grande finales, wallowing in the love festas of young, tattooed Mexico and blue-eyed Sweden, quite, quite understandable and sympathetic. The story lags here a little as he lists show after explosive, worshipful -to- the- point- of- near- violence show. And of course he throws in that ...oh. well, I am not going to give away all.
"A beach at nighttime is silent with secrets--finally given a rest from those dreaded day-people" . And fully dressed.
Don't miss the great story of Arthur Kane, from the New York Dolls--$45.00 is all I'm gonna say.
And HERE is everything I meant to say--I don't GET the people that don't GET Morrissey. If you are one of those folks who find him whiney, depressing, morbid and pale,--c'mere--we need to have a long chat about perspective on life. You must be one of those who imagines the world always to be a sun-filled, smiley faced place. How many pieces of flair do you wear? Just ignoring death, tragedy, sadness, longing, tosca: does not make it go away. Not to mention, can you put your head in the oven for a minute and let me turn up the gas--for just a minute--no?--okay--20 seconds--until I can explain to you the concept of black humor and self-deprecating humor? It is so much more interesting and witty than the usual slap-stick pratfalls of Fail-blog or running the dozens of "Your mama" or braggadocio macho humor. He is so goddammed funny, endlessly, in almost every word. Just don't take it all so seriously!! It's called STYLE. It is a stylized perspective--trading heavily on the use of hyperbole and litote. Like his great hero, O.W., who is on his side. And he is not nearly as mean-spirited or illogical (quite the contrary) as you might imagine, and in the rare moments he is guilty of being human, his insipid targets deserve it and more--IMHO.
Oh, yeah, I promised earlier to give my dish on the great Moz celebrity/celibate love-life mystery.
It's all true. Steven was, in my estimation, omnisexual--which is not bisexual. The peak of his love life came in the midst of thousands or tens of thousands, depending on the venue, and has never been fully consummated or satisfied. He really does love us all, wants us ALL, old, young, famous, obscure, the boys, the girls, the stylish, the sadly ugly,the thin-waisted, the big bosomed, the room-bound, the fatties, but refrains in sensitivity for our touching, eroticized emotions that HE stirred. ...more
When I was maybe six or seven, and already beginning my lifelong devotion to music, and rock in particular, I remember standing in the Record Departm When I was maybe six or seven, and already beginning my lifelong devotion to music, and rock in particular, I remember standing in the Record Department at Arlan's looking at the 45s, since my mother said I could get 5, if my brother and I could agree. We already knew some we liked: Herman's Hermits, the Monkees, The Dave Clark Five, Tommy James and the Shondells, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs:
"What about this one?" My brother said, pointing to a sleeve with a guy with crazy curly hair; "Bobby Die-lon, I think that's the guy who sings 'Blue Velvet'; you like him."
I rolled my eyes at the impossible retardedness of younger brothers who focused all their intellectual energy on baseball cards. " That's Bobby Darin..this is Bobby Die-lon--not the same guy!! Retard!!"
Not the same guy, indeed, (actually, I was probably thinking of Dion), and we did not buy that 45 that day, nor was I to give Dylan my rapt attention until about ten years later. And then for the next 30 or so. I even went to see him during that Awful Gospel Period where he sped-played all his greatest hits. Would it be an exaggeration to say I became a poetry lover because of Bobby?
This book sent me off to look at and listen to things I hadn't in the past. Now that I had the source's insight. It made me understand the spot he put himself in as The Protest King and why he traded it in to be King's Jester instead. You would have done it too, if you were him, with the same desire to make art, not war.
Dylan, in unsurprising fashion, does not give away the great secrets people have been longing to hear, but he is more candid than one might expect. I'm not arguing that everything he says here is true, or how much is imagined just enough to keep his chameleon lights going. I was amused, for example, that the great minstrel was still a bit of a fanboy, tracking down the residences and places of significance for various rock legends he admired--I won't give away spoilers for this.
No surprising, his narrative voice is penetrating and clear. He is as good at autobiography as he is a song writing. He is witty, pithy, cryptic, folksy, sage, romantic, and sarcastic. But not as frequently as you might think.
He is also hilarious, which you probably did (think). And if you like his words, but not his voice so much, especially in these latter years, well, this is the place for you, my friend.
Oh, yeah, and there were people who called him Bobby.......more
I put this on my "didn't finish" list, not because I didn''t like it but because I finished the project I needed it for, and it was due back at the liI put this on my "didn't finish" list, not because I didn''t like it but because I finished the project I needed it for, and it was due back at the library (where I just successfully got $73 dollars worth of fines in Russian Books dismissed))). I want to read more of this someday, because it is well written, and I like reading about Bob....more
I wasn't so psyched reading the first 150 pages of this book. I thought it was building up toDon't give up on this one.....
Short synopsis: Home=Jail.
I wasn't so psyched reading the first 150 pages of this book. I thought it was building up to be a sort of Don DeLillo, quiet desperation of suburbia thing, Bartleby the Scrivener and white noise. That changes about half-way through, when April first brings up Paris (hee hee--April in Paris...) And then the whole thing goes south for the danger zones of life. It just builds intensity from there, and I was quite waylaid by that--lulled to sleep by the torpid and long introduction.
It didn't help that the third person narrator was your classic bullshitter salesman type of the sort that makes parts of America unbearable.
You know--the ones that float up, Peter Principle style, and tend to run the joint.
Here's what I think is the white hot core of the thing. Like an ad for Modern Life, in toreador pants. On Dictaphone, yet.
" Knowing what you got, comma, said the living human voice in the playback on the Dictaphone, "knowing what you need, comma, knowing what you can do without,dash, That's inventory control."
Until I read the last 100 pages, I was not going to give this 5 stars. Talk about a fire-breathing finish. Not to mention that I don't think I've ever read a book that is so willing to state the truth, about modern life's complexities and inconsistencies, why us spoiled children of the latter 20th and 21st century have so much grief due to overwhelming choices, feeling used, feeling unfulfilled in our individual expressiveness, our phony attempt to appear happy, like people in the movies, who, unlike us lead extraordinary lives, especially when it comes to relationships.
Maybe Holden Caulfield was right--" The goddamm movies, they'll kill ya, boy."
I recently took a class to see a performance of the Greek tragedy, ANTIGONE. It was a WWII rewrite done in the setting of Vichy France, during its Nazi occupation. This particular production emphasized the dilemma of Creon vs. Antigone., i.e.. Creon representing our "mature" side, that sublimates individual expression for the greater good coming to blows with Antigone, representing youthful idealism, who is willing to sacrifice all for the truth--we were asked, post-performance, whose philosophy did we agree with ?
So, I immediately started seeing Frank, in this book, as parallel to Creon. April was Antigone. Now who do I side with? Politeness and civility aside, I think on some level, even though I think she would be terrible to live with, I go with April--all that pretense is what makes modern life so unbearable. It's why I need books, movies, music, art....more
I have to admit. I, on a whim, just googled "David Foster Wallace" and "autism", just to see if anyone else ever thought what I'm thinking. I hadn't rI have to admit. I, on a whim, just googled "David Foster Wallace" and "autism", just to see if anyone else ever thought what I'm thinking. I hadn't researched or known a thing about him otherwise, other than his suicide.
I did find something. Lots of things, plus speeches, interviews, etc. Some reinforced the idea, some did not.
One thing for sure, the autism thing can't possibly sum up everything that is interesting about David Foster Wallace and his writings, or what I know of them so far. And, well, I'm a label hater by nature--I really don't want to believe the world and its interesting peoples can be summed up in boxes to be sorted and scientifically labelled. How dull and unimaginative…for example, there is the notion that "Aspies" are non-intuitive, very scientific minded. From experience I'd say that is not true, only that it rather appears that way--because of a non-emotive way of speaking, a professorial air for those that are verbally verbose. Sometimes the words just don't come the way they do for others.
Right away I noticed he loves to repeat. (in fact, I erased two paragraphs of this review where I repeated, a lot, in parody, imitation, by accidental influence? something. But I erased it.)
I have been warned that this is different than Tarkovsy's Stalker. One difference is my translation is full of modern slang: gunslinger adventure guyI have been warned that this is different than Tarkovsy's Stalker. One difference is my translation is full of modern slang: gunslinger adventure guy lingo: "That's the Zone for you. Come back with swag, a miracle; come back alive, success; come back with a bullet in your ass, good luck; and everything else is fate." Same industrial dream landscape as the movie---literally affected my dreams--green nature growing through abandoned metal cracks.
Here's a typical quote: "Fire, toxic gas, and bullets--these are only Earth perils. The Zone doesn't have those---
The noir hero, however, is not telling, in this book, of the parameters of this novel: he is merely the filter. I am not an automatic fan of sci-fi. I tend to stick to the Dystopic classics, or humorous Sci-fi like Douglas Adams. I'm not a reader of goggly-eyed alien monster tales that appear randomly at the foot of your bed, in your soup bowl, in the pit of your stomach. I think subconsciously I am thinking, okay, Mr. Sci-Fi writer-man, what makes you think the aliens view us as the enemy, want to eat us, destroy our lovely (?) culture, breed with us and mutate us into hideous forms?
This is precisely what the Strugatsys seem to be thinking as well. Their alien "pic-nic" Visitation could have merely been a thoughtless event, and there is no insight into any sort of philosophical reasons for it--at the end there is no answer to the question why, that I could see. The religious implications are likewise vague in a way I can respect--given that the universe is rarely thoughtful enough to answer our questions here in the real world. There is a crazy verisimilitude in this novel, both in and out of the Zone--and both places are mainly reflective of, as my partner in crime Leo X. said in his review, ourselves, a mirror. You are very wise, Leo. I will try to write more later....
It seems the Russian scientific mind views science in a less encapsulated way than American scientists are trained to do. America seems to want its scientists to be exclusive--math-minded, logic-oriented, never being silly or vulnerable enough to consider larger issues of life...the philosophical ramifications of a scientific phenomenon , the quality of life, even artistic aspects. I'm not saying individual American scientists avoid art and philosophy--just that it doesn't seem to be promoted in the general ranks, or in academia. There is a certain coldness. I say this as a one time science major. It strikes me as some sort of subtle pressure to always equate scientific objectivism with "progress", which I always found to be a rather narrow point of view.
Again, the Strugaskys escape this. Their contemplation is quite poetic, while still seeming realistic ..in fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find the events that occur in this book -------to actually happen-----someday. It just seems that close to the truth to me. Even with an obviously noir leading man....more
This book is to be put on my favorites list. When I love a book, I wish I had written it. I wish all the characters were real, that I could meet them,This book is to be put on my favorites list. When I love a book, I wish I had written it. I wish all the characters were real, that I could meet them, and go to dinner with them, and have long, ridiculously deep conversations about why they do the things they do.
I haven't seen anyone say this in a review, but I'm not all into this interpretation that Myshkin represents Christ and his ideal of love. Platonic love, I suppose, which would be the only one that would make sense. I think Dostoyevsky is actually attempting something more difficult, more sublime, more inexpressible.
I think he is trying to define---through his incredible array of rough-cut diamond characters and their actions, thoughts, and explanations of why they do what they do--- the full galaxy that comprises the nature of love. Not an easy task, my friends. I think the various characters sort of embody different aspects of how humans love--I do NOT want to say they are symbols of various kinds of love--that is too analytic, too anal, for a writer of Dostoyevsky's emotional depth and perception. His novels, this novel in particular, remind me of a Tarkovsky film in some ways--there is almost no way to verbally articulate the emotions that are aroused in the encounter.
One of my favorite quotes from this book:"Don't Let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them. And these can rarely be distinctly defined."
Of course, it is tragic---but it doesn't leave you with the same pure sense of tragedy that HAMLET does, that OEDIPUS does, that STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE does. Those are button-pushers that make you want to weep for the people involved. But I got left with a unique sensation. Yes, it's too bad none of the very intimate, strong love ties in this story worked out to a fairy-tale, happily ever after ending. But, I got left with the strong sense that the fates really did smile on these characters. They were given the supreme gift of a moment of love. And it defined them. They were all worthy of it, even the idiots....more
Says Humbert Humbert to us and our posited reasons for reading his "confession" : ""you veteran crime reporter, you grave old usher, you once popularSays Humbert Humbert to us and our posited reasons for reading his "confession" : ""you veteran crime reporter, you grave old usher, you once popular policeman,now in solitary confinement...you wretched emeritus read to by a boy!"
one I am almost finished with for the 3rd time--trying to see what the professors see in this damned thing. Something to do with the narration. Nabokov was a Joyce lover, referred to Joyce's pornography trial in the Forward of his book, daring it to be banned. It was.
It's rather ridiculous in some ways, that this book was banned--Nabokov himself thinks the publishers in America he submitted it to didn't read past the 1st part, and rejected it more for its lack of graphic material. I have mixed feelings about this book--don't get me wrong, I think it is "great literature" and all. But, this may be my last read of it, now that the cardboard walls fell away and I see the hand of god (Nabokov) in the machinery. That was what he ultimately wanted, I think, as many of his other writings, I hear, are about that. I truly have never felt so overtly manipulated by an author in all my life, and I don't quite know what to do with that.
Do I give him 5 stars for being an expert manipulator ? I tend to like an author I think I would enjoy as a person--you know--like ol' Holden Caulfield's line about finishing a book and wanting to give the author a buzz--shoot the shit. I would dig that, too. I don't feel like giving ol' Vladimir a buzz. Don't think he'd be terribly friendly for a chat.
Continuing on the down side, I do not like Humbert Humbert as a character. His obsession with Lolita bores me. Ultimately, he's a snob. On the plus side, his gift with words is enormous, and almost fun. Games,games, games. What part of the story is true? How much a madman's tale? Does it matter? Ne znaio. I laughed out loud at the end, after he'd committed his revengeful crime on Clare, his alter ego? when he said, (covered in Quilty, heheh), "since I had disregarded all the laws of humanity, I might as well disregard the rules of traffic," as he proceeded then to drive on the left-hand side of an American highway at 20 mph. But that was really the only time I laughed in spite of all the diamond wordplay--definitely tempting to steal ideas . However, I must admit, I was rather moved when pregnant and married Lo, faithful to her Dick, called our narrator "honey". Maybe she did love him. Maybe she never existed. Maybe she existed, but the road trip was all Humbert's fantasy. Maybe we're all being played for what stirs us up the most......more
Brilliant. Will say more later when I have more time to register thoughtful ideas.
April 19, 2014---From my Blog--finally decided to add here:
From theBrilliant. Will say more later when I have more time to register thoughtful ideas.
April 19, 2014---From my Blog--finally decided to add here:
From the Book of the Sacred Werewolf: another Pelevin philosophical mind-blower---
So, Victor Pelevin and I have an interest in mining the same vein. The West's (America's) effect on the East (Russia), and visa-versa. Other books of his aim more directly at this, but this one still plays around with subconscious connections as well. Solidarity vs. Rugged Individualism. Capitalism and its exploitive effects on our Mother(s).
All this is accomplished through the eyes of an ancient she-fox who is supernatural (and therefore looks incongruently young), who has, due to her age and centuries of experience across cultures, understands things about human behavior and the way the world works that makes the rest of us seem myopic . This is probably why she makes herself appear female and young, and is making her bones in life through fake prostitution.
I avoid spoilers by explaining how one can be a "Fake" prostitute. There's a bit of magical realism in the book. However, it is, beneath all this, a satire on our modern world and its money-run madness. The modern need for oil, and America and Russia's manic focus on this, is a case in point.
First, around two-thirds of the way through the book the writer shows the true sacrilege in our oil lust, and waste---what it physically, literally is, not in a poetic, metaphoric way.
It is our ancestors--all the things, plants and people that have come before us--we burn to go buy Pop Tarts. It makes me feel sick that I have never considered this..not fully. Those Pop Tarts better take on the sheen of the sacred--like communion, when you eat them.
How's that for an image to suck you into Pelevin's mind??
A 2nd brilliancy, on Stephen Hawking, and I quote, "if the Albigenses had had a radio telescope, they would have declared the Big Bang a cosmic photograph of Satan's rebellion..."
How can anyone top that connection for the confluence of science and religion!!!! But, actually, he is discussing philosophically the limits of perception---we all only see through our own little narrow chink in the fence..not the whole field, or does the field not exist when you can't see it?
I think so. I feel it, the atmosphere of it.
There's a section in this book, when the fox and the wolf become "lovers" --I use quotations because theirs is not the human kind of love, but oddly involves sharing (among others--don't ask, read) human- like fantasies---Jesus, this Pelevin guy has an amazing mind. Many of them are based on enacting old movie scenarios, but in twisted ways. But, this has nothing to do with the connection/divergence between Russian and American thinking, except there are ridiculous numbers of allusions to American/Western culture in the Russian? fox/wolf's fantasies: Casablanca, Star Wars robots, The Matrix, Mulholland Drive, Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde....so again, in Russia's deep subconscious we find prominent id yearnings for...the West. Mostly because in the past it wasn't allowed.
The crazy thing is, if the Russians could see through our chink in the fence, and we through theirs, I have the feeling we could easily confuse which side we were looking through. I think both cultures pay homage to the notion of being rugged, macho, an individual--striking out on one's own, the existential man, defiant of authority, and rules. And both sides have their weirdly pragmatic, cold-bloodedness. The one that lends itself to Capitalism.
I think many myopic Americans would object to my classifying the Russian character as one of a rugged individualist. Our fence knot streams in on the notion of groupthink--the Soviets were all about the Animal Farm, totalitarian sacrifice for the greater good! A willingness to be mindless--a follower. (Americans all the while ignoring our own tendency to force everyone into an All-American, church-going, happy- meal -eating family). All one has to do though, is give a hard think to Eastern European/Russian history to see that is quite far from the truth..even current events demonstrate this. Read good Russian literature and you find a culture of thinkers, of all stripes.
Of course, this does not mean we can't fight--even siblings can fight if there's the proper territory.
I would love to hear what Pelevin has to say on the Ukrainian/Crimean situation. It definitely would not be facile. ...more
Mind-blowing book about how propaganda, especially of the commercial kind, literally infects our being. Pelevin is as hilarious as deadly in his satirMind-blowing book about how propaganda, especially of the commercial kind, literally infects our being. Pelevin is as hilarious as deadly in his satire of what drives modern life. The setting is post-Soviet Russia, rushing towards capitalism, but the message can send a depth charge to America as well. The visual of the Russian Parliament as a pack of cigarettes is----excuse the modern allusion--priceless. This is a different kind of 5 stars than I usually give, and I am already pushing on to Pelevin's more mystic works about werewolves. ...more
I keep vacillating between 4 and 5, mostly because of the ending. But, decided on 5 for the beautiful and funny writing. Humor takes me a long way, anI keep vacillating between 4 and 5, mostly because of the ending. But, decided on 5 for the beautiful and funny writing. Humor takes me a long way, and like Dylan says--It Takes a Lot to Laugh, a Train to Cry. Like the movie, I wish the humor had maintained throughout, even through the heavy parts--maybe that just isn't possible, even with Sammy Davis, Junior, Jr.?
Anyone want to discuss the message about love in this book?...more
This is not a solid five star book for me the way, say, THE IDIOT is. Probably because it irritated me as often as it caused me floods of enjoyment anThis is not a solid five star book for me the way, say, THE IDIOT is. Probably because it irritated me as often as it caused me floods of enjoyment and insight. I think I was just way too conscious of reading it, and how LONG I was reading it. Imagine that my stars are somewhat opaque, with bits of blood and bodily fluids seeping through the gold.
More later, too wiped now.
Maybe body fluids described in great detail are not my bag. My concept of verisimilitude. I'm not being a prude..just romantic. Similarly, I was over the DFW-"Im such a good writer I can write bad too, get the joke??"" Haha. Jokes for me need to catch me off guard, not beat me over the head like Ms. O'Shay's shillelah.
I did laugh frequently these last 6 months. And sometimes at my anal retentive need to finish this book and prove my literary cooperation with the canon.
For one thing, this is not a book I would automatically recommend to all my literature loving friends. Will it stand the test of time? Probably. Lots of books I'm not madly in love with do. See, I would not marry this book.
Did I find the characters well-drawn, deep, interesting, eccentric? Oh, yes. Do I want to know them in the biblical way? Not really.
Were the stories within the book surprising, untapped, non-derivative, original, creative, sparking my imagination? Yes. There surely were enough of them. Did they have the sense of verisimilitude, pull me into their worlds, give me Coleridge's suspension of disbelief, in spite of the complete weirdness imbedded within.? Yes,yes,yes, yes, yes. Yadda.
Will there be images from this book that will stay with me for a lifetime? Whooboy , yes.
This book does not make me want to do drugs or view the video version of THE INFINITE JEST. I does make me glad I read it, which is the ultimate 5 star test.
I'm sure there are people whose world view conforms to and confirms the point of view in this book. Mine does not. Although I find myself at moments, submitting to the ennui, the existential hopelessness of the daily grind of repetition--when the cardboard walls fall away, as Sartre was wont to say, and searching for a handy distraction (GR?), I still see something invisible beyond the joke. Sorry, DFW. And, my favorite books tend to conform more to my world view--otherwise I feel rather whorish.
I'm afraid that for me it ended with a whimper, not a bang. Oh, so much hope, so many good ideas, so much truth! but never put in the proper frame. On GR I gave it 5 stars, just for the sheer brilliance of its potential ideas. But, is DFW always a great writer, and even in this? Nope. I think his shorter stuff is better, but he just doesn't have an artistic eye for the big picture like he does for the (obsessive!) detail, the crazy dizziness of where his brain is willing to go. He is no Shakespeare, no Dostoyevski--I think he is more a tennis player than artist. Keeping 6000 balls in the air! So much potential, so much truth, but never an artist's eye. Sadly. So much so it doesn't comfortably fit for me here to list it as a favorite American story.
I still think I want to be Madame Psychosis))....more
This book was a pleasure to read, and you don't need to be a baseball expert to enjoy the interplay between characters. It has the added attraction ofThis book was a pleasure to read, and you don't need to be a baseball expert to enjoy the interplay between characters. It has the added attraction of presenting the good vibes, in a realistic, non saccharine form, that are created from being on a team--the bonds that are created. Jon also has a great sense of humor, adding to the enjoyment: highly recommended....more