This book put me to sleep every forty pages or so. And it's fucking long. And it had a disassociative effect on me where nothing seemed quite real, orThis book put me to sleep every forty pages or so. And it's fucking long. And it had a disassociative effect on me where nothing seemed quite real, or really mattered. Or maybe it just made me depressed. "Good" books seem to have that effect on me. That's why I read shit as much as possible. Too many conjunctions, is that's what you're thinking?...more
I read this after college and just found it annoying. It would at one time have fascinated me and I probably would have loved it. It paints a pretty gI read this after college and just found it annoying. It would at one time have fascinated me and I probably would have loved it. It paints a pretty good picture of what I was like in college during my less proud moments. But, having tried so hard to leave that behind, I had a lot of trouble sympathizing with the main character's constant self examination. That shit makes me squirm.
Anyway, for examination of a subject to the point of self-obscurity, I prefer House of Leaves. Obsession is better when the object is external and made an invader rather than internal and made a parasite. Tapeworm vs. Stalker. Which would you rather?...more
Dear Multi-generational immigrant fiction-- I have difficulty with you. I can understand the need for continuity, a sense of connection with the past,Dear Multi-generational immigrant fiction-- I have difficulty with you. I can understand the need for continuity, a sense of connection with the past, but all I can see with you is a target audience of middle aged white, (or any variation therein-twinkie, hoho, what have you) liberal women. Same goes for Middlesex, and Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes (not sorry I didn't finish you). Again, flash to mom killing these sorts of movies on the television. Flash again to mom laying generations of guilt onto sons for getting "B." Flash to mom making me cry for not wanting to practice violin. Flash to scar on brother's hand from my mom holding it against a lightbulb "because it's dangerous playing with a nightlight and I was afraid he'd hurt himself."
I'm all for my mom making peace with her past: "Your Bapas and Nanna were very kind to me when I first came here. I remember your bapas loved classical music and he'd put on a record and sing along even though he had a tin ear, so I know it would have meant so much to him to see you now." But these books are emotarded. I'm just tired of hearing myself think like this. I'm tired of handing my anger back to my mom in brown paper tied up with string.
Now flash to Christian on project runway saying, "I like asians: asians are fierce." Awww, waht a nice white liberal woman you are. I mean gay man. How good of you to take pity on the poor yellow monkeys.
God damnit. Now I've gotten myself all fucking pissed off and made an emotard of myself.
Milan Kundera... kind of a pretentious dick-wad? I was really into this book my senior year of high school, and that's basically what I was, so I'm prMilan Kundera... kind of a pretentious dick-wad? I was really into this book my senior year of high school, and that's basically what I was, so I'm projecting, but I never quite got a handle on what philosophy of life he was about, in the end. I read a bunch of impossibly dense scholasticism on him and it really just confused me, so I wrote a really confusing bit of high school drivel and squeaked out an A. And then I went to Oberlin. Seems to me to be a modernist hanger-on who never got his nobel.
What I do remember about this book: coining of the term "imagology" (think ideology with images), sex with girls in athletic socks (which was probably my real favorite part of the book, but I was too ashamed to admit it then), and ex-pat disassociation/emotional detachment.
The three of these add up to something worth reading, but I think only because of the third, which resonated with me because I was being raised by an alien elephant in the house. I guess you could say I learned something about my mom. Although her reasons for leaving Taiwan were more familial and self-motivated than political exile, they do bear some similarities: she married a foreigner and threw traditional Chinese racism in her parents' face, so I suppose you could replace "married" with "became," "traditional Chinese racism" with "communism," and "parent's" with "government's," and get somewhere close what a female Milan Kundera did). Nevertheless, there's something real about this book's detachment to me, perhaps on account of the helpless sentimentality of the damn "joy luck club," or "farewell, my concubine" movies that my mom watched to death. I could never pick up the kitchen god's wife, because whenever I saw books dressed in oriental patterns I wanted to vomit. But I think I'm getting closer to being able to do that. There are a lot of good traditional chinese values...I just have difficulty disassociating them from my nutter mom. okay, I just used the word nutter. no more harry potter for you, young man....more