Sunday, May 03, 2009

Shrugs and Slugs

My favorite scene in Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying is early on when the hausfrau comes into the book shop and repeatedly espouses her chief virtues in literature: big and human while remaining essentially English. I finished Lawrence Norfolk's Pope's Rhinoceros today and found myself confused if not vexed by this baggy mionster which dazzled at times and yet appeared often, if not predominately opaque especially to character and dialogue.

miraculous coincidence late in the book revives the underlying tragedy and allows the survivor to numerate like a savant, which I suppose merits attention.

"Four hundred and twenty-seven. Four hundred and twenty-five" Amalia's skipping. Both senses.

Norfolk is the proverbial too-clever-by-half and yet he has to know. The cringes couldn't have all been suppressed. Could they?


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