Amusing, but not as witty as I was hoping. I was hoping for either more humor, or more philosophy, or more action, or more fantasy. I suppose I was hoAmusing, but not as witty as I was hoping. I was hoping for either more humor, or more philosophy, or more action, or more fantasy. I suppose I was hoping for a Douglass Adams type fantasy fun fest, but it felt like it just could have been so much more. That said, it's only the first of the Discworld books, and no one has ever said this was the best one, so maybe one day I'll give another one a go....more
A book that reaffirms it's genius with every page. Engrossing non-linear weaving narratives, innovative post-modern styling, and true g-ddamn soul. LoA book that reaffirms it's genius with every page. Engrossing non-linear weaving narratives, innovative post-modern styling, and true g-ddamn soul. Loved it....more
Biggest mistake was reading this after watching the BBC's 'Black Mirror'--Egger's dystopia is just tepid in comparison. Perhaps I shouldn't compare thBiggest mistake was reading this after watching the BBC's 'Black Mirror'--Egger's dystopia is just tepid in comparison. Perhaps I shouldn't compare the two, but if the goal is a 'millenial's 1984', Eggers stumbled over himself a few too many times to make this one work; DE is no Orwell....more
The richest collection of essays I've read since 'Consider the Lobster'. CdA is the real deal, with passionate, deeply-thorough, prescient, and astounThe richest collection of essays I've read since 'Consider the Lobster'. CdA is the real deal, with passionate, deeply-thorough, prescient, and astoundingly empathetic observations on the layers of our often dramatic, yet ennui-laden lives on Earth. Recommended for everyone with a pulse.
"People who read Brautigan typically pick him up when the lyrics to rock songs are still compelling, and a similar sensibility--youthful I suppose--has always energized a reading of, for example, 'Trout Fishing In America'. I don't really understand why this should be so, but both enthusiasms are hard to sustain past the age of thirty. We shoot our heroes and enjoy peripeteia as a spectacle akin to sport and perhaps harshly disavowing the past protects us from the disappointment of our outsized hopes--who knows, really, but shifts in taste don't fully account for this phenomenon. At any rate, nearly everything urgent and alive becomes doo-wop down the road, at least in this country's pop culture, and along the way a somewhat self-hating irony lays waste not only to the work but to the desires it once carried. It's like we die into adulthood."...more
"I don't drink anymore myself, I'm moving on. And that's not to say I won't drink again. I'm not making any promises, but I don't think I was a great"I don't drink anymore myself, I'm moving on. And that's not to say I won't drink again. I'm not making any promises, but I don't think I was a great drinker. Some folks are great drinkers; they drink and tell jokes and laugh their asses off, and they are funny as hell. We buried one of those last week. Life is just a big test, and if you try hard, you fail. If you don't try too hard and fail a little but have a good time, maybe that is success."...more
"After I had washed the walls and floor, I poured the water down the toilet, pulled off the yellow gloves and turned them inside out and hung them ove"After I had washed the walls and floor, I poured the water down the toilet, pulled off the yellow gloves and turned them inside out and hung them over the rim of the empty red bucket while making a mental note that I had to buy a toilet brush as soon as possible. Unless there was one in the other bathroom, that is. I looked. Yes there was. I would have to use that for now, whatever its state, and then buy another one on Monday."
If reading that makes you wince and think that this book must be painfully banal, then you're right: it is. This book is filled with the intimate minutiae of the life of a thoughtful, but melancholy and lethargic Norwegian man, unabridged, but unguarded and as honest as it gets.
Perhaps that sounds boring and tedious, but rest assured that somehow, some way, it is not. While some of my friends who have also plowed through this 450 page PART ONE OF A SIX VOLUME MEMIOR(!) have not felt the same, I found it to be a refreshing account of a life, one fraught with experiences which likely parallel with almost every reader. Do you remember what you did between 2 and 7pm on June 26th, 2004? Probably not, but it was likely a slog of daily routines, punctuated perhaps with moments of clarity. That's what this book is.
Amongst the drudgery of toilet cleaning, walks to the corner store, cigarette smoking alongside grieving and pontificating family members, are these brutal gems of morose philosophy which make the book screamingly eye-opening.
"‘Our world is enclosed around itself, enclosed around us and there is no way out of it. Those in this situation who call for more intellectual depth, more spirituality, have understood nothing, for the problem is that the intellect has taken over everything. Everything has become intellect, even our bodies, they aren’t bodies anymore, but ideas of bodies, something that is situated in our own heaven of images and conceptions within us and above us, where an increasingly large part of our lives in lived. The limits of that which cannot speak to us – the unfathomable – no longer exist. We understand everything, and we do so because we have turned everything into ourselves. Nowadays, as one might expect, all those who have occupied themselves with the neutral, the negative, the non-human in art, have turned to language, that is where the incomprehensible and the otherness has been sought, as if they were to be found on the margins of human expression, in other words, on the fringes of what we understand, and of course actually that is logical: where else would it be found in a world that no longer acknowledges that there is a beyond?"
These bits make all the slogging worthwhile.
Or one of my other favorites, which struck me hard as I drove by a highway accident on my way into San Francisco shortly after reading:
"That which belongs to the body and is concrete, physical and material, this death is hidden with such great care that it borders on a frenzy. And it works, just listen to how people who have been involuntary witnesses to fatal accidents or murders tend to express themselves. They always say the same, it was absolutely unreal, even though what they mean is the opposite. It was so real. But we no longer believe in the reality. For us everything has been turned on its head, for us the real is unreal, the unreal real."
This book is unlike anything I have ever read. That said, in order perhaps to stand out from the packs of frothing praise that has been levied upon the author by countless book reviews, I will say that I find myself unlikely to continue on with the next five volumes, at least not any time soon. The plodding tone, the lack of animation, the sheer *ENNUI* of the book is sometimes simply draining.
And often, 40 pages into THAT thought, he hits you with another whammer.
"But Dad was no longer breathing. That was what had happened to him, the connection with the air had been broken, now it pushed against him like any other object, a log, a gasoline can, a sofa. He no longer poached air, because that is what you do when you breathe, you trespass, again and again you trespass on the world."
Knausgaard is trespassing on the world with this memoir, trespassing on the notion that a life worth mentioning is a flaming life unlike any other. No, that turns out not to be true: every life, no matter how staid, is itself something worth writing about....more