The prose of Carson McCullers and its geography had me by the second paragraph.
With the exception of perhaps Wunderkind, which I can forgive on accounThe prose of Carson McCullers and its geography had me by the second paragraph.
With the exception of perhaps Wunderkind, which I can forgive on account of her age when she first published and wrote it (17), these stories smack of the American mid-century and its tell-it-to-ya straight kind of ethos. The idea, too, that a story can do much to illuminate a town, a people, a class of wearied workers, wearied citizens regardless of age (everyone's white, but well, Southern writer from the 50s....), and illumination in the sense of palm-fuls of embers and action and feeling and glory... height enough to slam down at a later date.
Something weird or absurd or glorious to dignify the routine, the long hours at work, the dreary where-are-we-going sentiment that can pervade adult life....more
Gentle and seems to claim the sunshine view that all we really need are a few spare parts and creatures for a satisfying many, many years of middle-agGentle and seems to claim the sunshine view that all we really need are a few spare parts and creatures for a satisfying many, many years of middle-aged life....more
The cast, star-studded in its oblique way, made the trip basically worth all the stylistic (methodological? perspectival?) quibbles I had with the (esThe cast, star-studded in its oblique way, made the trip basically worth all the stylistic (methodological? perspectival?) quibbles I had with the (essentially) crime novel/historical narrative/architecture thriller. I had never read about 1890s Chicago, and this was my ticket, brochure, and souvenir.
It was history written to thrill, and with that bent, it sought out to tell us how so many things began (or ended) with the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In no sense is this much of an attempt to write "history from below," from the perspective of the subaltern, the ones who could not speak audibly at the time of these events. The women tortured and used by this *evil* man, H.H. Holmes. Women, who, by the way, seem in the book to represent the typical young woman on the move during the end of the 19th century: impressionable, deeply and easily attached to dangerous men, gullible, weak, and desirable only for the (grossly) sexy feebleness of their bodies. Fainting props, all of them. The Zulu people and other curiosities shipped in from around the world and ogled by vast crowds. An imperialist freakshow. It is a story of intertwining male ambition and the violence such ambition relies upon for its ends. Where, oh where, is the other half? Belly-dancing, most likely.
The events themselves, the people populating these situations, the backdrop of a pale, pale, city vulnerable to flames and erected in the impossible timeframe of a year... these probably deserve their own miniseries on television.
Entertaining for sure; requires a significant amount of unpacking and thinking along the edges of the sensation....more
So glad to finally read some Hrabal, and grateful to not have to know Czech to access his work – this translation is masterful, unless Czech is uncommSo glad to finally read some Hrabal, and grateful to not have to know Czech to access his work – this translation is masterful, unless Czech is uncommonly easy to shine through in English, and I doubt the latter is true. Carnal pleasure resolves to a metaphysical key, mostly. And the unbelievable, which keeps coming true. And the words that serve as a refrain chapter after chapter of one's life.
There's something about Ditie, the main character, however, the sheer solitude of his existence, the tenuous and easily-hurt nature of his relationships with mentors, the lazy worshipping of women('s bodies), the friendships he cannot keep, or won't. It seems like wherever there is opulence (the hotels, the restaurants, the millionaires), there is a fantasy story waiting to be written down. Money, what men slaughter (even themselves) for. But here, a currency in words too. I am sold....more
You can coax a lot of wretchedness out of a small town.
I read a lot of this book on public and private transportation, trying to save my eyes by not sYou can coax a lot of wretchedness out of a small town.
I read a lot of this book on public and private transportation, trying to save my eyes by not swaying too much with the train car, for instance.
Sometimes I wonder how a writer ends up with so many characters that they constitute a veritable cast. A tumbling range of personae from the meek to the boisterous, the spit(e)ful to the saintly! Crammed into a provincial milieu. Layered, also, like a French cake. Thinking of mille-feuille. Nothing like robust British classicism.
And how stunning to find that someone has written a number of men and women into a wordy, fictional existence that you come to adore like so many flawed friends. So many errors and a whole host of pettiness and striving to be foolishly honourable.
Honourable fools, all of them. Will Ladislaw. Dorothea Brooke. Mary Garth (not as foolish as the rest). Caleb Garth. Fred Vincy. Rosamond Vincy. Tertius Lydgate. Causabon. Celia. Sir James Chettam. Bulstrode. The narrator Herself.