Tuck's Reviews > An Elemental Thing

An Elemental Thing by Eliot Weinberger
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Oct 17, 2011

it was amazing
Read from October 24 to 26, 2011

pretty amazing creative expositions on a variety of topics but all deal with what it means to be a human, and why we are different than the trees, and stars, but not by much.
plus it's Mike Puma's best books read of 2010.(or ever?!)
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message 1: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls This is a set text on Glasgow University's writing MA. That's all I know about it. Whether that detail is interesting or not is at your discretion.


Tuck he's my hero so will be difficult to be bad


Tuck MJ wrote: "This is a set text on Glasgow University's writing MA. That's all I know about it. Whether that detail is interesting or not is at your discretion."
i am not sure what a student of english would do with this book after they got done reading. except maybe putting it in their pocket and jumping off a tall bridge into the ocean, cause there's not much hope for anybody else.


message 4: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls But the essays are original, moving, special, no? Hence the five stars?


Tuck oh very original, creative non-fiction more or less, and what is he trying to say? it's not real clear, but is trying to show how elementally, all humans are the same, whether nazi or Papua new gunieian sweet potato farmer. so he has delved into some fairly obscure historical tomes to pull out "facts" of say star knowledge, or BC chinese emperors daily diaries or excerpts of mohammad's trip to hell, and heaven, and writes his essay in a matter-of-fact but magical style. so it's 5 starness comes from the massive erudition, lyricalness, and audacity to write these "essays" as essays, as they could very well be poems. i guess ultimately though, the book is just an exercise in beauty and almost free association writing, but in a very controlled and "fact" filled way (the parenthetical? fact because his sources are mostly victorian, or ancient greece or spanish conquistadores or old ass chinese books, which are not necessarily legit nowadays).

and what would a poor 19 year old college student DO with this book even if they love it? i guess it is a good example creative writing, and nonfiction too, but really it's like getting a new supply of opium for the smoker, pure bliss if you smoke. just smelly, pretty blue smoke if you don't. huuuffffff.


Mike Puma MJ wrote: "But the essays are original, moving, special, no? Hence the five stars?"

At the pace you read, you can devour it in an hour or so. Check it out.


Mike Puma Glad you weren't disappointed, Tuck.


message 8: by MJ (last edited Oct 26, 2011 12:10PM) (new)

MJ Nicholls Thanks for the mini-review. This does sound up my street. Glasgow University has an absolutely stonking library chocked full of crackerjack experimental fiction, including SEVENTY Dalkey titles. For a small US publisher in the UK, that constitutes a result!

It's a text on a postgrad course, so it's read by book snobs and semi-pro writers.

EDIT for Mike: I plan to. Short books are pleasing to the obsessive reader.


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