While I’m relatively new to the world of sci-fi (I’ve only really read A Stranger in a Strange Land, which was fantastic), it seemed to me that the pl...moreWhile I’m relatively new to the world of sci-fi (I’ve only really read A Stranger in a Strange Land, which was fantastic), it seemed to me that the plot in this book was ripe for creativity: Earth exploded on ~p. 10…however, the pages that followed were not spent on creative/interesting alien worlds, but rather on repetitive narrow escapes from death by the main characters (i.e. “So this is it, we’re going to die.” “I wish you’d stop saying that.” →ME TOO).
Although overall the book was too slapstick in its comedic efforts, I did enjoy the sporadic word plays (“You know something?” “More than you can possibly imagine.” or “What the photon happened?”) and the “paranoid android” Marvin was adorably depressed, slumping in corners and shutting himself off.
In the 5-book series, I also read The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, but wish I hadn’t because it was just an extended string of near-death experiences. I then ALMOST proceeded onto the next book, simply because it was titled so immensely Life, the Universe and Everything…but I wasn’t ready to space out more during a space book (ha). (less)
This was my first by Paul Auster, and I found it to be dreamy and pleasant to read. The first half reminded me of one of my favorites, The Edible Woma...moreThis was my first by Paul Auster, and I found it to be dreamy and pleasant to read. The first half reminded me of one of my favorites, The Edible Woman (Margaret Atwood), for the reason that it experiments with mental v. physical disintegration under a theme of isolation.
I loved the period of M.S. being homeless & his employment with Thomas Effing. Aside from being a funny/grouchy old man, Effing often commented beautifully on freedom, stemming from “a sense of despair that becomes so great, so crushing, so catastrophic, that you have no choice but to be liberated by it. That’s the only choice, or else you crawl into a corner and die.” I always think about despair causing recklessness, but enjoyed the optimistic swing of calling it ‘freedom’.
After those two periods, I lost interest in the second half of the book because the consequences were silly and the perfectly rounded plot got to be a little tired. Regardless, poetic sentences got me through to the end, and it’s very worth the quick read. (less)
“It is true that all their lives depended upon the earth.” This is a classic story about Chinese farmers whose lives are governed by the land, and sub...more“It is true that all their lives depended upon the earth.” This is a classic story about Chinese farmers whose lives are governed by the land, and subsequent generations changed by the modernization of the country.
Wang Lung, the protagonist: what a difficult character to deal with…at times I wanted to maul him (see: the animal-like treatment of his wife O-lan or the seduction of young Pearl Blossom) and at times I wanted to pet his head (see: the pride in his eldest son’s literacy & the humble work ethic and attachment to his land). Despite the ups and downs, when he took back the pearls that his frumpy, loyal wife wore hidden on her body so that he may give them to his puta, I almost ripped the page. AND even as his wife lay dying, he was repulsed by her and “how wide and ghastly her purpled lips drew back from her teeth.”… OK I mostly did want to maul him, it was hard to get past his flaws even though I know it was a part of “the times,” and women were slaves and barely considered human.
In the simple farmer lifestyle, it was considered ill for a man to know more than is necessary for his daily living, lest he become idle and “lusty,” or compelled by restlessness to see or hear something new. By doing physical labor to keep one’s self alive, life can be uncomplicated and purely gratifying. The “Revolution” was a distant phenomenon, unrelated to daily life. Though I know present-day people who are trying to live their life similarly (and I think it’s lovely), it couldn’t be farther from the way I live my life…and it’s a large contrast to the next book I’m going to read: The Pale King (David Foster Wallace), which will be a modern, over-analytic, life-is-terrible-because-it’s-so-meaningless tale – which is more in line with my interests.(less)