There was a lot of rereading for me (Infinite Jest, V, Mao II, Brave New World, Naked Lunch, Lord of Flies, The Trial, Swann’s Way, Crime and Punishment) and other side-stuff to do (a thesis on IP and philosophy courses) but still I managed to finally sink my teeth into a few great books. Here are short highlights:
<read on —>
Two amazing biographical trips. One, takes you into the mind of the wildest cat – W. Burroughs (written by Ted Morgan) the other is about D. F. Wallace ( D.T. Max). Both heroes were avid drug users. Both struggled through pain, addiction and depression. Both texts are made of extremaly different and extremaly intersting life stories.
Another trip was down south, with McCarthy’s ‘All the pretty horses’. This one is very much down to earth, covered with dirt and dust. Not only that but it’s also a powerful, engaging advanture. Crazy as it is to read about horse-riding down to mexican border, while sitting in the middle of a modern city, Cormac is top-notch storyteller.
Now this is a real beauty, a truly modern novel. Eugenides effortlessly paints a triangle of three young students in search of a mature life. For some reason the wrtiter is not an optimist. All three characters slowly step into the void, all from different directions. Finally, they all try hard to love someone but it never works out in the end. The Marriage Plot is also subtly radiating a passion for books and this is a major advantage if you ask me.
Simply there’s nothing to add here. A classic. Satan as the master of words, a talented rethor, a determined warrior who lost because of his pride. For the first time it wasn’t easy to root for the good ones. ^^ And it was written in times when words and stories where still so powerful, that reading it results in some kind of nostalghia, it reminds us of how emtpy the words are nowadays. [see the quote!]
Imagine a map of the whole world. But this time it’s not lines and colors, this time it’s made solely of words. Bolano took a tremendous challange. And for sure haven’t lost this battle. In terms of exploring what a work of literature can be this is an obligatory position. In terms of pure pleasure of reading this is a Roland Barthes’ dream come true.
Here is one for the fans of sick, perverted tunes. Erotic fascination with car crashes, adultery, rivers of blood. Having said that this novel is a vision and should be treated with proper respect. Way before Palahniuk made his name, Robert Vaughan was the real Taylor Durden. If you think you’re brave try reading this in a car!
I wasn’t convinced that Roth deserves so much prise and acclaim. Not untill first few pages of this book. Roth scrutinizes his charaters with such depth and determination as if he was a worm making tunnels in their minds and flesh. He recovers the most hidden, most uncomfortable details of their lifes. But the portraits cover only half of the picture, the rest is insightful social history of america violently disfigured by the 60s, the Vitetnam war and the sexual revolution. Nothing will ever be the same – now in a form of a book.
The curious case of Robert Musil. How to describe his hairsplitting meta-descrptions of the world? Torless is a painful, ‘artist as a young man’ type of novel, only set in Austria in a school when childeren are sociopathic little devils (remember Haneke’s The White Ribbon?). The Man without Qualities is uncomperable to anything of course. It’s a pure, neverending thinking process in a form of a novel. When Nietzsche was speaking with contempt about the sprit of heaviness he didn’t suspect it can also take form of a genius writer. It’s a coming-of-age novel for the whole 20th century Europe, how about that?
In a way I feel like the kid on the cover while everyone raves about this book. It just isn’t my cup of tea. However I cannot leave it without a word, in fact this book is a reference point for many discussions. If you look for someone who mastered the craft of writing, who has insight into our everyday lifes of now, you can happily go for Frazen. What’s going on it here is life, bitter-sweet, relatable. A novel for humanity of the western world. Frazen is a straight A’s type of guy, he does it all perfectly according to the rules. But you know, there is no magic here, only warmth. All the same, you clearly have to read it, no harm will be done, that’s for sure.
Pelevin, a young russian talent is one of the few writers how can embark into a vast cloud of alarmingly chaotic imagination and come back safely without a scratch. And with a complete story to tell too. It’s layers and layers of postmodern wierdness, buddhism, history, stalinism, war, art and what not. It goes in all directions at once but surpisingly in the end it all makes sense.
DeLillo caught my completely off guard with this one. It was supposed to be all mathemathics, all patterns: some mysterious cult murdering people in accordance with a language code, a risk-analyst on thier tail. But then it’s all far, far in the background less than unimportant. On the contrary, we recive everything but patterns. Every conversation, every move, every line is so unpredictable I sometimes though I have a book of good poetry in my hand. All in all it’s a dissolved image of Americans leaving abroad, no sign of Don Brown’s bullshit. Hell, this book is a surprise birthsday party where instead of an expensive new watch you get a lot of love from friends and family. Or something to that effect.
As a bonus, a couple of non-ficiton gems:
Happy NY eve!
Movies are next !