I didn't realize that I had actually read something by Stephen King. I am quite familiar with a number of his stories from discussion; others from filI didn't realize that I had actually read something by Stephen King. I am quite familiar with a number of his stories from discussion; others from film adaptations. I know him chiefly as an amazing font of poorly-executed ideas and The Man Who Cannot End A Story.
Apt Pupil does not suffer as greatly as his others, though much of the psychology is quite silly and overwrought. As someone who finds WWII and the Holocaust to be blown out of proportion (especially in comparison to other, ignored genocides) the book's fixation did not resonate with me. However, the exploration of the darker side of man, especially as it relates to obsession with death, did. Another work that acted as an early representation of the 'kid with a gun' who has so captured the most frightened attentions of our society....more
Entertaining, but overall highly anachronistic. Yet another author who transplants a spunky, modern heroine into a vastly different culture without anEntertaining, but overall highly anachronistic. Yet another author who transplants a spunky, modern heroine into a vastly different culture without an explanation of how such a character could have developed. People forget that 'teenagers' have only existed since the middle of the last century.
I wish Cushman had created a protagonist who was both engaging to the reader and able to provide illumination of how much people have changed over time. That's the book I want for my kids. You know, if I wasn't half-convinced that I would destroy the poor things with my eccentric brand of madness. Then again, I couldn't do any worse than most parents....more
They had us make our own cranes when we read this during middle school. I was new to origami, but it only took a couple of minutes to make the crane.They had us make our own cranes when we read this during middle school. I was new to origami, but it only took a couple of minutes to make the crane. I suddenly wondered how long it would take to make a thousand. At two minutes a crane, sitting in bed and doing it for, say, eight out of my sixteen waking hours, I'd be done in less than a week.
This seemed funny to me, until I read that the real Sadako did finish her thousand cranes in less then a month, and kept on folding more. But since the book posits that her wish was to stay alive, perhaps the author thought that to have her reach her goal and still die would be too sad. Or perhaps the author recognized that, without the dream of that wish, there would be no real story to tell.
I find this disappointing, as the author could have said something more meaningful if Sadako had finished them, but still died: that no one can stand against their own death, but even as we face our own, we may fight for something greater, we may try to fight against a world of senseless death.
Are we afraid to tell our children it is a fight we can never win? Does that make it less worth fighting? Wouldn't it be better for them to learn that now, from someone they trust, rather than to discover it later, when they are already in the middle of the confusions of life? What could be more disheartening than suddenly having that dream snatched away?
It is a difficult question: how to breach, for our children, the concepts of death, of war, of hope, and of the inescapable. When we scale it down, to one person, to one pain, that is when we feel it the most. But when we do this, we miss out on all that surrounds it. By concentrating on one person, you can turn a mutual war into a directed crime, and there lies the danger.
It is not uplifting to see a little girl die slowly, of something she cannot understand, to have her promise of a life revoked, but this is not all there is to the matter. As human beings, it is easy for us to look at the suffering of a few, especially a spectacular suffering: nuclear weapons, the Holocaust, 9/11, and feel enraged.
And it should upset us. War is unequal, unfair, and makes a mockery of beauty, art, and humanity. But it is always too easy for us to forget the other side.
So many people react to this book with sorrow for the little girl, with a sense that the nuclear weapons were a tragedy, unnecessary, and inhumane. But that is simply ignoring the larger story.
Where are the books about all the children the Japanese soldiers killed? Even without nuclear weapons, the Japanese practiced total war, which meant hundreds of thousands of civilians dying every month. They slaughtered children, they took slaves and worked them to death in mines.
They used biological weapons on Chinese citizens and killed others in nightmarish testing facilities where Japanese scientists observed the effects of poisons, chemicals, and disease on their hapless test subjects.
They started the war because they were nationalists and wanted to expand, to destroy their neighbors, and to conquer the world. They refused to accept that losing was an option, and were willing to die to win.
If the Allies attacked Japan itself, the Japanese planned to recruit every man, woman, and child during the final invasion, to blow up American tanks with bombs strapped to fifteen year-old boys. Even after the first atomic bomb was dropped, the Japanese command—including the Emporor—rallied to continue the war, even passing off the bombing itself as an industrial accident.
It is important to recognize the suffering of others, but it seems we too often concentrate on the suffering of one person over another. It is easier for us to concentrate this way, to see something spectacular and terrifying like the 2,752 deaths of 9/11, and ignore the 1,311,969 Iraqis dead since. Or look at the death of Jews in the Holocaust and ignore the Poles, Romany, Atheists, and Homosexuals who died alongside them
I sometimes fear that by hiding from children how commonplace death really is, we do not allow them to think about death except for isolated, melodramatic stories. If we cannot learn confront death except when it spectacular, then we will never really try to stop it, because we will only focus on the rare cases, and fail to notice that death is no less final from untreated disease as from a gun.
Perhaps I am silly to expect more of children's books than I do of adult books, but then, I've found I can expect more from children than from adults. I am of the opinion that the best way to prevent children and adolescents from having early pregnancies is by giving them all the difficult, unpleasant details. I think the same goes for war. This doesn't mean showing them footage of either act, but an open, honest sit-down beats dramatized, nationalistic propaganda any day of the week....more
This is the sort of book White America reads to feel worldly. Just like the spate of Native American pop fiction in the late eighties, this is overwheThis is the sort of book White America reads to feel worldly. Just like the spate of Native American pop fiction in the late eighties, this is overwhelmingly colonized literature, in that it pretends to reveal some aspect of the 'other' culture, but on closer inspection (aside from the occasional tidbit) it is a thoroughly western story, firmly ensconced in the western tradition.
Even those tidbits Hosseini gives are of such a vague degree that to be impressed by them, one would have to have almost no knowledge of the history of Afghanistan, nor the cultural conflicts raging there between the Shia and Sunni Muslims, or how it formed a surrogate battleground for Russia and the United States in the 20th Century, or for Colonial conflicts in the centuries before. Sadly, for all the daily news reports about Afghanistan, most people know very little of its history.
Hosseini's story is thickly foreshadowed and wraps up so neatly in the end that the reader will never have to worry about being surprised. Every convenient coincidence that could happen, does happen. He does attempt to bring some excitement to the story with dramatized violence, but that's hardly a replacement for a well-constructed plot. He is also fond of forcing tension by creating a small conflict between two characters and then having them agonize over it for years, despite the fact that it would be easy to fix and the characters have no reason to maintain the conflict. And since the conflict does not grow or change over time, everything is quickly reduced to petty and repetitive reactions.
He even creates a cliched 'white devil' character, a literal sociopath (and pedophile) as the symbol for the 'evils' of the Taliban. This creates an odd conflict in the narrative, since one of the main themes is that simple inequalities and pointless conflicts stem from Afghan tradition, itself. His indelicate inclusion of wealthy, beautiful, white power as the source of religious turmoil in the mid-east negates his assertion that the conflicts are caused by small-mindedness.
The fact that this character seems to have the depth of motivation of a Disney villain also means that he does not work as a representation of the fundamental causes of colonial inequality, which tend to be economic, not personal. The various mixed messages about the contributors to the ongoing Afghan conflict suggest that Hosseini does not have anything insightful to say about it.
Perhaps the worst part about this book is how much it caters to the ignorance of White America. It will allow naive readers to feel better about themselves for feeling sympathy with the larger mid-east conflict, but is also lets them retain a sense of superiority over the Muslims for their 'backwards, classicist, warlike' ways. In short, it supports the condescending, parental view that many Americans already have about the rest of the world. And it does all this without revealing any understanding of the vast and vital economic concerns which make the greater mid-east so vitally important to the future of the world.
It is unfortunate that nowhere amongst this book's artfully dramatized violence and alternative praising and demonizing of the West is there the underlying sense of why this conflict is happening, of what put it all into place, and of why it will continue to drag us all down. The point where it could turn sympathy into indignation or realization is simply absent.
There is a bad joke on the internet showing a map of the world with the mid-east replaced by a sea-filled crater with the comment 'problem solved'. What this map fails to represent is that there is a reason the West keeps meddling in the affairs of the mid-east, and that every time we do, it creates another conflict. As long as we see extremists as faceless sociopaths, we can do nothing against them. We must recognize that normal people fall down these paths, and that everyone sees himself as being 'in the right'. Who is more right: the Westerner whose careless bomb kills a child, or the Muslim's that does?
The point shouldn't be to separate the 'good Muslims' from the 'bad Muslims', because people aren't fundamentally good or bad. They are fundamentally people. Almost without exception, they are looking out for their future, their children, and their communities. Calling someone 'evil' merely means you have ceased to try understanding their point of view, and decided instead to merely hate because it's easier to remain ignorant than to try to understand.
This book isn't particularly insightful or well-written, but that is in no way unusual in bestsellers. The problem is that Americans are going to use this book to justify their ignorance about the problems in the east. This book will make people feel better about themselves, instead of helping them to think better about the world.
For an actually insightful, touching view of the Afghan conflict, I would suggest avoiding this bit of naive melodrama and looking up Emmanuel Guibert's 'The Photographer'....more
Donoghue combines self-righteous messages with blatantly didactic interior monologues which can only appeal to those already believing everything sheDonoghue combines self-righteous messages with blatantly didactic interior monologues which can only appeal to those already believing everything she says. She spurs no thought which was not already there, and in writing a book which never aspired to art, has done what your average writer does: increase the general volume of words in print, and nothing more. A string of random monkey-typed characters would have aided mankind as well....more
Like the other Native pop novelists of the 60's and 70's, Silko's voice is competent when not distracted by over-reaching, and like the others, she spLike the other Native pop novelists of the 60's and 70's, Silko's voice is competent when not distracted by over-reaching, and like the others, she spins a story which is vague enough to please. She also never really escapes the fact that her depiction of Native culture is thoroughly westernized.
Her monomyth is tied up with enough Native American spirituality to make it feel new and mystical (at least to outsiders); it was even criticized for giving away 'cultural secrets'. It is somewhat telling that many of these secrets have been so subjugated by colonialism that what she shares never really feels new. Though this doesn't mean that what she shared didn't still feel private to her and her tribe.
The spiritual philosophy of 'New Agism' aims to recapture a non-christian view. Unfortunately, the cultures so held up as examples of this are usually too colonized to provide an unbiased view. Often, the only references to their practices have been recorded by Christian authors, and any currently living members have had to practice their traditions under strong Western influence.
The Native Americans do have this unbroken lineage, though they are not free from the influence of the slavery, exile, and attempted conversions of the west. This sets them apart from all of the European Pagans, especially the Druids, for whom we have no good source of knowledge. Most of these New Age beliefs are simply a rejection of Christianity and an embracement of something--often anything--else.
It does not help that such movements were started by egotistical self-promoters like Crowley who cobbled together whatever seemed risque or interesting without much history or philosophy to connect them. It is no less common for Native American beliefs to be overtaken in such a way and represented as more 'pure' and 'balanced' than our own Western traditions.
Like most of New Agism, this is bunk made up to sell people things. Native Americans were as expansive and destructive as any other peoples, and drove their share of animals to rarity and likely, extinction. Indeed, archaeological evidence indicates that the current 'native' Americans came only as recently as several thousand years ago, and wiped out the older aborigine population that had called the Americas home for millennia.
Another archaeological excavation of some Southern Californian tribes showed that they were driving certain species of bird to extinction until the point when smallpox reached them and they themselves were wiped out.
This isn't to say the Europeans saved the animals or any such thing, merely that there is likely no people that is 'in touch with nature'. To imagine such a thing is to try to remove one of the great difficulties of philosophy and replace it with a silly romantic notion. Of course, this is the sort of thing people tend to be quite comfortable with, as philosophy is hard and pleasant ideas are easy.
I would not fall so hard upon Silko as to suggest that she is such a blind idealist; indeed, she often gives us moral ambiguity and difficulty. This pessimism should be no surprise to anyone who is familiar with the current position of Natives, making poverty and hardship common in Native books.
Silko's is an early work in the movement, and like many such, it struggles with finding a voice. It is the mark of a strong author when they can conscientiously utilize and reject portions of a dominating culture in order to present a satire or redefinition of the relationship. However, Silko may still be too steeped not only in the dominant culture but in its own ideas of the 'Native American' to escape into something more profound.
It may be that this American culture is too insidious and pervasive to provide the underprivileged with enough opportunity to escape it, which may be why some of the 'Magical Realism' coming out South America may work as a better cultural refutation. That is, if you can find the small indications of differing belief stashed in amongst the endless Catholic fetishism.
There are still important cultural differences to be found between the West and the Natives, but Silko is no anthropologist. Perhaps she has fallen to the fallacy that being something makes you an expert in it. Unfortunately, our position in life often blinds us as much as it informs us. A man can drive a car without knowing how to build one.
Like Achebe, Silko's work arrives colonized and westernized, immediately recognizable to anyone familiar with Western tradition. And like Achebe, its concessions to culture are mainly the savagery and unexplained mysticism that the West already projects onto it. Here, then, is another book to make suburban housewives feel worldly and 'tolerant' without really shaking up their assumptions....more
As a person who believes that lying to children and leaving them unprepared for a complex world is cruel and pointless, I find a certain delight in thAs a person who believes that lying to children and leaving them unprepared for a complex world is cruel and pointless, I find a certain delight in the Weetzie Bat books. Of course, they are also one-dimensional and ridiculous without being truly creative, so they fail to get my Children's Lit prize....more
Though I am wont to blame the inescapability of genetics for various aspects of an Epicurean reading of Absurdism, I tend to pause, for some reason, iThough I am wont to blame the inescapability of genetics for various aspects of an Epicurean reading of Absurdism, I tend to pause, for some reason, in ascribing gender differences as stringently. It's difficult to say if this is simply a bias of wishful egalitarian thinking or truly an outgrowth of my understanding, for precisely the reasons that Epicureus is worthy to interrupt my many Suicides. So, when I say that women seem more than men to be capable of breaking the Tolkien Curse laid so thickly upon Modern Fantasy (barely proper), it is with trepidation.
Flatly blaming rude and wretched socialization always seems easier; despite our inability to understand any First Cause. Original Sin infects us all.
There is certainly something bound in the flesh which drives a breed of dwarfish, ill-socialized, fetish-loving escapists to blindly build and habitate an unoriginal world; and for a further gaggle of the nearly less-talented to consume it ravenously. It seems that, in the spirit of contrariness, when women find themselves thrust by love of horses or exceedingly lax tonsorial concerns into the same arena, that they fight a different fight.
Perhaps they approach the incline from a different vantage; arriving not by way of a)Tolkien to b)Conan to c)some unspeakable modern half-wit, but by Malory, McKinley, and Spenser. Of course, one must not forget that the vein of Fantasy still runs, at least in part, through Austen; and that though those alloys be rarer, still inhabit the edges.
Bradley has certainly taken a different tack on her way to the summit (never tor) of fantasy. She evokes Spenser, the Idylls, and all manner of other ridiculous romanticics of the Arthurian Mythos. She also endeavors to pull the characters out of the romantic and toward post-modern psychological conflict. On occasion, she even succeeds.
There is an undeniable depth to the books, accompanied by a rather pleasing graying at the temples of morality which immediately places her at the opposite pole from her male contemporaries. That those poles are really not so far away somewhat lessens the impact, and one is eventually bound to recognize that there really is a reverse pole to the whole of our concept of fantasy marked somewhere in Peake's Titus trilogy.
Actually, that's not true. One could very easily read a fantasy novel a week for life and never have to realize that Bradley is really only a little bit out there; but certainly enough to feel like a breath of the fresher.
I am beginning to regret reviewing these all in a row, as I feel I need repeat myself. Then again, the theme and structure of the books is repetitiousI am beginning to regret reviewing these all in a row, as I feel I need repeat myself. Then again, the theme and structure of the books is repetitious, so perhaps there is little else I can add.
By this point, Rowling has caught her stride, and begun that inescapable page-climb for which she became--especially in the young-adult genre--especially infamous. This book is, more than anything, an expansion of the world and of events. She puts off Quidditch at the school--perhaps out of a fear that Harry's Gryffindors playing every year would grow dull. Instead, we have the Tri-Wizard Tournament and the World Quidditch Cup (to tide us over). Many critiques of Rowling's world-building--previously grumblings--can begin in earnest here, as she expands the world of wizards from a small cadre into a full-blown, worldwide community of secret-keeping.
Not only are there the questions of Why all the secrecy, but now How, as well. The plot leaps around as is its wont, aided by a magical urging here or a convenient villain there, and the promised 'dead character' is, of course, one almost entirely given importance solely in this text. This certainly isn't the most underwhelming that her promise of future deaths will become, but it is a foreshadowing.
The characters and conflicts are exciting as ever, and as she finally developed the pacing in the last book to prevent us losing ourself in a plot which twists and turns not so much like a maze, but like a meandering goat trail, we can at least now feel the wind in our hair as we gallop along it.
I really wish that the various psychological and foreshadowed elements would resolve themselves, but one often as not finds that the climax comes with a sense of "oh, are we here already?" rather than "I've been waiting for this".
Rowling seems to do better when things are darker and more hopeless (or perhaps those are the only moments when she cannot draw into the waistcoats of her child's lit contemporaries for inspiration), and this book continues the trend that began with a darker change in tone in 'Prisoner of Azkaban' and culminating in the next offering.
In her second outing, Rowling builds up her confidence (and relationship with her publisher) enough to begin her signature page number crawl. UnfortunIn her second outing, Rowling builds up her confidence (and relationship with her publisher) enough to begin her signature page number crawl. Unfortunately, for this book, her chaotic plotting means that the further length just becomes more scattered moments.
Despite some interesting twists and concepts, this is the weakest entry in the series. It betrays a utilitarian sense of plot and worldbuilding, in that it expands the story little. Of course, Rowling never really gets the process of streamlining or simplification into her literary arsenal, but later books in the series come to use her meandering style more to her benefit.
The first of her series where Rowling really catches her stride. Though her plotting is always a forced joining of unnecessary moments smoothed over LThe first of her series where Rowling really catches her stride. Though her plotting is always a forced joining of unnecessary moments smoothed over Lucas-style by action and magic, in this occasion, the emotional and character exploration of such moments helps to lend them a certain importance. There is an irony here: that Rowling seems to profit from the reader leaning on Chekhovian Realism in a story where the psychology and meaning are so contrived and poorly-executed that it cannot be considered with that genre.
As ever, Rowlings adoption of characters, themes, and tropes from other British authors prove to be her best and most powerful elements. From Mr. D'arcy to Gandalf to Gaiman, she runs the gamut, arms outstretched and grasping gleefully.
Of course, for those who argue 'there are only XX stories' (scientifically defined as somewhere between 1 and 77), Rowling's gentle lending is not much of a literary crime. Quite the opposite: she is not an author who could create from whole cloth, her strength lies in combination of elements and in romantic adventure.
And though her disparate story elements are as hastily built as old Winchester Manor, and as unkind to see from afar, traveling interiorily--though sometimes needlessly confusing--provides a view of many well-constructed and beautiful rooms: a lovely little tour.
At the risk of insulting someone who misses my intent, the greatest gift to her merry throngs may be that they cannot step back and look upon the whole picture. A house of cards is a pretty feat, after all.
After the loss of the (admittedly: occasionally interminable) dark psychological tone of the last book, this one falls into a very recognizable 'plotAfter the loss of the (admittedly: occasionally interminable) dark psychological tone of the last book, this one falls into a very recognizable 'plot coupon' pattern, which should be familiar to anyone who played D&D or watched Dragonball (we were all 11 once, right?). Of course, constructing the finale around such a simple and direct concept for the ending of the conflict is easy for the author. However, it is formulaic and predictable for the reader, and robs us of actually seeing a physical and intellectual struggle between foes. Of course, this does not mean that they do not strive against one another, but by providing the separation of such a plot device, relocates the entire point-of-conflict to an arbitrary, external point. Thermal exhaust port, indeed.
This book was mainly built to set up the finale, and feels in many ways to be less of a complete story than a 'second in a trilogy', without a real point and ending of its own, and reliant on the final chapter to decide its importance.
This is also the book with the greatest adherence to actually surprising the audience with a main character death. At least, it would be, if it weren't unfortunately easy to match the emotional directives given to the characters by the author and recognize that what the author wants us to think shows us precisely what will happen. Misdirection is an art, but it should not have to be a martial one.
Long story short, I unfortunately guessed the 'twist' and spent the greater part of this book watching the author try to throw red herrings in my path. A bit disappointing, but still a fairly interesting and exciting tale. The historical and character exploration provide some of the strongest elements in any of her books. It does not quite reach the heights in tone, emotion, or motivation of the last book, but she never does reach that height again.
Fairly standard kid's fantasy fare from Rowling as she re-introduces the world to the classic British fairy tale, which had been mostly forgotten sincFairly standard kid's fantasy fare from Rowling as she re-introduces the world to the classic British fairy tale, which had been mostly forgotten since Tolkien spliced it with the epic. She mines gold from this rich and storied tradition, but doesn't really fashion anything unique from it.
We can see the beginnings of Rowling's authorial failings (and a hint of her strengths as well). She adopts Rouald Dahl's 'awful family' trope, though it's clear that Rowling does not have the gift of bizarre characterization or the knowledge of the darker parts of the human soul that made his books resonate.
She writes sympathetic characters, but not unusual ones. Overall her writing has relatively little character or style. Then again, mass success often requires leaving the more unusual elements behind. So she relies on standard character types, managing to keep them afloat through the patented perpetual plot of the airplane book.
She also pulls from that old British tradition of 'children lost in fairyland', seen often in early fantasy (Dunsany, Eddison), which Lewis also made use of. She also has the vast, unknown underground of magic just beneath our world which keeps itself always mysterious and quiet, much favored by Gaiman and other Urban Fantasy authors (though Rowling's invented world is strained and piecemeal, moreso as the series goes on).
The strength of the book is that it combines the tradition of the 'child in fairyland' with another British standby: the boarding school bildungsroman. It's the same neat trick Mervyn Peake pulled in 'Gormenghast', though Rowling's version is tame in comparison. Her tale of the intellectual, emotional, and physical growth of the young, outcast everyman is rather predictable, except for some insight into angst in the fifth book.
Rowling's prose is quick and simple, but sometimes awkward and without music or joy. It is not the sort of deliberate simplicity Carroll achieved by expressing complex ideas in playful terms. It is rather the sign of an author whose unsophisticated voice prevents her language from vaulting higher.
Simplistic elegance is deceptively difficult to achieve, and so it's hard to blame Rowling too much when she falters. It's unfortunate that she didn't put a few failed books under her belt before finding success, as such early outings are often best winnowed chaff.
Her plotting--as ever--is scattered and convenient; though in a shorter book, it shows less. Her plot twists, as usual, disappoint; they are not built upon progression of events but upon reader expectation and emotional red herrings.
It's the beginning of an enjoyable series, but there's really no need to start any earlier than the third book, when Rowling finally finds her pace and begins to lean more heavily on that which she does well, which helps to hide her faults. Watch the movie if you need a primer.
Too expository, same disjointed plotting as ever. Nothing particularly surprising or shocking. Gains more strength through familiar characters and nosToo expository, same disjointed plotting as ever. Nothing particularly surprising or shocking. Gains more strength through familiar characters and nostalgia than from new developments or understandings. Smacks of the improbably untragic wars of any happy ending; though Rowling's wealth of secondary characters provides a little fodder.
Character growth in the likes of Dumbledore, Neville, Kreacher, and the predictably D'arcy-like Snape provide the most interest in the book. Perhaps Rowling was more concerned with closure than constructing a more complex story. Then again, she may just be glad to be free of it after all these years. I do congratulate her on getting out while the getting was good.
The epilogue particularly felt like an attempt to make an utter and unapologetic finish to the story. Unfortunately, it will likely not keep the questions at bay. I, myself, couldn't but wonder if the older Harry might have adopted a fatherly middle-class mustache. I'll have to pen a letter.
Despite the claims that the books were plotted out and foreshadowed from the beginning, we get a lot of last-minute additions to the world to build toward a convenient plot coupon ending. Rowling was, more-or-less, beyond the power of editors, and I wish she had used that power to write an interesting, audacious book, but this ending was very safe, and free from the surprising plot twists Rowling sometimes managed.
I guess she was trying to please her fans, but she had a lot of people to please. Hopefully she pleased some of them, but I was disappointed that as the series neared its end, it became less quirky and character-driven, and more predictable and cliche.
I had a bizarre obsession with this book as a diminutive child. There is a vague remembrance of myself dancing menacingly in an airport while my fatheI had a bizarre obsession with this book as a diminutive child. There is a vague remembrance of myself dancing menacingly in an airport while my father's friend improvised (at my behest) a song on the topic on his guitar. It is unfortunate that the book was not written by a darker and stranger writer, for my love of the concept didn't really translate to the simple silliness of the books themselves.
Of course, I didn't want something evil and frightening, but a bit of Carroll's disturbance would not have gone amiss....more
I think what would really make this book complete would be two more chapters. Then it would be wide enough to correct the short leg on my dining-roomI think what would really make this book complete would be two more chapters. Then it would be wide enough to correct the short leg on my dining-room table. As of now, the thing can have no possible purpose....more
This book, for me, represents the pinnacle of a 'literary' book that captures real life so effectively that it is entirely banal. Granted, making someThis book, for me, represents the pinnacle of a 'literary' book that captures real life so effectively that it is entirely banal. Granted, making something both realistic and interesting is one of the greatest challenges any author faces. Whether through dialogue, plot structure, or motivation, it is always more difficult to write a book that seems at once 'real', but does not fall into the 'truth is stranger than fiction' valley of attempted realism.
Modern authors of this vein (i.e. Salinger) become more an act of dadaist 'difference for difference's sake' than any actually sort of conceptual exploration. And as has been noted many times, simply acting differently does not make one a revolutionary. Oft times, it's just a sign of self-centered contrariness....more