Jelinek is an image-driven writer and, as a result, her novels are full of delicious metaphors and other gems for word nerds. I read this whole book oJelinek is an image-driven writer and, as a result, her novels are full of delicious metaphors and other gems for word nerds. I read this whole book out loud and it was great. The "cutting" scene toward the beginning is particularly memorable: beautiful and shocking at once.
The novel is structured in two parts. Part one can be dense and a little slow going; some passages are almost oppressively detailed and melodramatic in a way that is equally pleasurable and frustrating. Part two is action-driven and much more fast paced. The experience of reading this book is like taking a leisurely ride in a pristine carriage where the horses get progressively more spooked and the carriage gets progressively more muddied. Before you know it, you're careening into someplace bleak and weird (but awesome).
The characters, though unsympathetic, are totally compelling. Once primed for stardom, Erika has resigned herself to being a severe, embittered music professor at thirty-something. She's obsessed with youth/beauty and aging. She finds ways to inflict physical and emotional pain on her students, strangers on the subway, etc. She has horrifyingly poor boundaries with her overbearing mother, who steers Erika towards prudishness and isolation with the well-intended zeal of a pageant mom. The pair fight constantly and despite the mother's supposed upper hand, they're evenly matched and in it—voluntarily—for the long haul. Erika also nurtures a private seedy side. She lurks late nights in parks to spy on lovers; she struts into peepshows and smells the hardened tissues at her feet; she sexualizes urinating in public. Eventually, she winds up in a doomed, train wreck of a relationship with one of her students, the egotistical, 20-years-younger Herr Klemmer.
what i love most about this book is the collage of actual voices, sign quotes and thoughts from the speaker/interviewer. this choice has heft; it realwhat i love most about this book is the collage of actual voices, sign quotes and thoughts from the speaker/interviewer. this choice has heft; it really goes for the gut and i love that. i listened to a (fascinating!) interview with C.D. Wright about her process and it reminded me so much of the social science research we do at my day job. now i am stoked about data collection/poetry research overlap!...more
For a long time the jury was out, but somewhere in the middle, Wuthering Heights became transfixingly soap operatic. Despite my initial doubts, it doeFor a long time the jury was out, but somewhere in the middle, Wuthering Heights became transfixingly soap operatic. Despite my initial doubts, it does live up to the Kate Bush song of the same name! I think Catherine's exit facilitated my change of opinion; she was a total migraine. Heathcliff, on the other hand, is totally rad; I would gladly accompany him (and any other foundling-turned-blaggard) for a ramble on the moors . . . An aside: I really want to read some essays about nonmonogamy as it relates to this tale. ...more
This a book about tortured obsession-—far smuttier than one would suspect. I read an interview with the author who said she would not include premaritThis a book about tortured obsession-—far smuttier than one would suspect. I read an interview with the author who said she would not include premarital sex in her books; this would conflict with her values. Instead, we’re faced with a pair who romanticize—-and better yet eroticize-—their ability to come “this close” to a vampire/virgin bloodbath and still have restraint. I am a big fan of pent-up desire; three cheers for lightning without thunder. So fascinating. As I am an obsessive freakwad myself, I find it highly satisfying that Bella Swan (virgin) and Edward Cullen (vampire) freely indulge in horrifying boundaries despite condemning consequences. Go team!
Yes, there’re cringeworthy odes to Edward’s sculpted chest and Bella's freesia scent. Yes, there’re holes in the plot, particularly in the sequel. And bad writing! Bad writing galore. It appeals to the part of me that loves to watch Sandra Bullock romcoms. I would never go in expecting Werner Herzog.
If for no other reason, love Twilight as a fascinating pop culture artifact with lots to imply about chastity, obsession, teenage sex, beauty, youth, death, etc! ...more
Hi, I'm a hairsbreath away from 27 years old. Count me among the 15 year olds who are obsessed with these books. While I could do without the annoyingHi, I'm a hairsbreath away from 27 years old. Count me among the 15 year olds who are obsessed with these books. While I could do without the annoying Romeo and Juliet references throughout, this one has near bestiality and hallucinatory suicide attempts going for it. Yay! ...more
Though it had some rather high points, this is my least favorite of the books in the twilight saga so far. Boo to many pages of lore explaining vampirThough it had some rather high points, this is my least favorite of the books in the twilight saga so far. Boo to many pages of lore explaining vampire/werewolf origins. Hokey lore is to be expected, but dull hokey lore? Cullen family history lesson? Blech. This said, the ending of Eclipse is quite titillating. Nonmonogamy! Brawny wolf hunks! Mass murder of newborn vampires! Etc! Is it healthy to spend day upon day devouring young adult fiction in 8 to 10 hour shifts? On to book 4!...more
I am familiar with this woeful feeling of obsession come to a standstill. It’s like the day you realize that you’re too grown up for the Babysitters CI am familiar with this woeful feeling of obsession come to a standstill. It’s like the day you realize that you’re too grown up for the Babysitters Club, the day you realize that you’ve made too many goes at Anne of Avonlea and Gil’s marriage proposal can’t bloat your heart. A sad day indeed.
It makes the separation easier when Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final installment, is a let down and sham. It should be called Breaking Down. It was my unrelenting obsession that led me to complete this 760-page tome. Though many supernatural transformations occur, the most disturbing is Bella’s personality transplant about midway through the book. The romance between her and Edward died with this transformation—for me, anyway. And a little nudger?! ew. There are so many instances of deus ex machina; even Poe would find it distasteful. And who ever wanted Jacob to narrate 200 pages? Ugh and ugh.
But alas, I will miss reading about my vampire/virgin/werewolf friends.
This is a good book for a long night. Sometimes you just want to be Comforted. This book Comforts. I would evaluate the authenticity of Cohn and LevitThis is a good book for a long night. Sometimes you just want to be Comforted. This book Comforts. I would evaluate the authenticity of Cohn and Levithan’s rendering of a punk-teen existence, but I am anciently old and out of touch; I haven’t been a punk-rock teen in almost a decade. I will say that while these details were not spot on—at least in terms of aligning with my experience—it didn’t detract anything. There’s a lot here to like if you want to see some acerbic teens get sappy. I want to meet some straight-identified youth who play queercore and catch burlesque shows of drag-queen nuns dancing to “Climb Every Mountain.” Oh, and if anyone wants to write a collaborative YA novel—about queer-identified riot girls in Northern California, perhaps—give me a holler. ...more