Thursday, November 26, 2009

Soft Smells

I awoke early to place my Mexican barbecue in the oven and returned to bed. A few hours later the house was adrift if aroma of bountiful contentment. The espresso machine makes all matters sublime. I have begun reading the new Orhan Pamuk and am finding it a curious departure from my previous expectations, this one speaks less of intrigue or exile and more of madeleines.

Black beans were also placed in the crock put with chorizo. I hope Freud can plumb their depths of deliciousness. Speaking of the uncanny, I read Levi Stahl's post on the Lambs of London (btw I loved that book as well) the other day and then went to the library sale and found a copy of Ackroyd's The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde. I have desired that book for a few years now. It isn't exactly Umberto Eco finding his ghost book to complete his dissertation, but i find it satisfactory. Oh, the olfactory and the coincidental!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Listening To My Whine

I am sorry but I can't replicate my hipster references of yesterday, there will be no opinions of Messrs Yorke and Wallace, I am tired, essentially from waking at 4 a.m. I really hate that.

I have been thinking of the sleep I enjoyed as a child, the perforated division between waking and dreaming and how they spilled readily into one another. When I was 10 or 11 I knocked over our swing set on the riding lawn mower. It was an accident and my dad went ballistic. The pathos of that moment remind me of Infinite Jest.

I have decided that I will continue with Q by the Wu Ming, in this instance Luther Blisset. I can't quite manage another novel just yet, though I have placed both the new Orhan Pamuk novel as well as the latest from Richard Powers on hold at the library.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I read the following earlier. I started Kurzweil's Grand Complication last night. I had found it at the library sale and thought it promising. I finished it this afternoon during a day rife with raking leaves, enjoying the return of the Seico espresso machine and the sounds of Art Tatum and Cecila Bartoli. I found the novel to be a diversion. Erudite like Frayn's Headlong but not really memorable. I suppose the tempor of such led me to the Wallace quote.

"For me, the last few years of the postmodern era have seemed a bit like the way
you feel when you're in high school and your parents go on a trip, and you throw
a party. You get all your friends over and throw this wild disgusting fabulous
party. For a while it's great, free and freeing, parental authority gone and
overthrown, a cat's-away-let's-play Dionysian revel. But then time passes and
the party gets louder and louder, and you run out of drugs, and nobody's got any
money for more drugs, and things get broken and spilled, and there's cigarette
burn on the couch, and you're the host and it's your house too, and you
gradually start wishing your parents would come back and restore some fucking
order in your house. It's not a perfect analogy, but the sense I get of my
generation of writers and intellectuals or whatever is that it's 3:00 A.M. and
the couch has several burn-holes and somebody's thrown up in the umbrella stand
and we're wishing the revel would end. The postmodern founders' patricidal work
was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up
for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our
formative years. We're kind of wishing some parents would come back. And of
course we're uneasy about the fact that we wish they'd come back--I mean, what's
wrong with us? Are we total pussies? Is there something about authority and
limits we actually need? And then the uneasiest feeling of all, as we start
gradually to realize that parents in fact aren't ever coming back--which means
we're going to have to be the parents"

Wu Ming Foundation

I have been intrigued with such since our last trip to Chicago. Thanks to Better World Books I now have access. I picked up Q a novel set during the Reformation the other day. I find the dialogue anachronistic, but will return to such, especially after discovering the following:

'Oh it's fucking ace! But my missus, that's her specialist field, so she's been explaining it to me all the way through. Medieval church carnage. It's mental. I want to get it made into a film. That's my next mission.' - Thom Yorke

Richard Flanagan

A recent post concluded with my stating that I was opposed to Elroy's recapturing recent US history through novels where a Kennedy or Hoover or Hughes was featured on ever page. Imagine then the torque involved in reading a novel where Dickens and John Hope Franklin are two of the major characters. The novel was titled Wanting and it proved to be poetic success, though one which drifted in the purview of J.M Coetzee, now living in Australia. The inner torments of an author (Coetzee's Master of Petersburg) contends with the codification of the indigenous (Waiting For The Barbarians). I found these qualities interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, nearly reading it all in a single sitting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ganked From The Wires

"Meanwhile, over at The New Yorker, two literary parallels: Nabokov and Palin both had their highly anticipated books published at a tick after midnight today; and Palin and Jonathan Safran Foer should perhaps have a public debate (she could greet him on stage like the way she did Biden; “Can I call you Jon?”). "

Life has left me light-headed despite the rain. A car flew off the road by my work and landed perfectly in a ditch. the arriving officer asked for registration and iD while the couple sat submerged in a four foot ditch. The car was then removed and left for a spell in our lot. I pondered it with uncertainty.

I completed Carpenter's Gothic this evening and find it a delight of literature; a well-snorted hocker bespat at a world gone mad.

Carpenter's Gothic

My wife and I approached such in tandem, she then moved ahead and finished it Sunday. I am still plodding along, though this morning I found myself unexpectedly pleased w/ the exchanges surrounding the CIA, creationism and the popular tolerance of the south.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tales By Dusk

Turin is a city which entices the writer towards vigour, linearity, style. It encourages logic, and through logic it opens the way towards madness. -- Italo Calvino

Among the many classifications, daunting and imperial, that occupy Calvino's masterpiece If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, there should be space for Those Books Never Actually Finished, And Eventually Ill-Remembered. This amazing tome would have been listed as such until last week. The endless organizing of shelves and books upon such prompted this direction. As does the eternal quest of what to read next. Each chapter in the Calvino unfolds to proffer a twist of kaleidoscope, a further prism of reference and irony to an already frothing brew of narrative. I was glad to approach such.

My wife finished Pnin and Absurdistan last week and I was near feverish in pull of rereading both. I may yet still. We are both reading Carpenter's Gothic at the present. I finished the second chapter in The Third Reich In Power though samizdat is continuing its somnambulist charade. I started reading Ellroy's American Tabloid yesterday. There is something within without a doubt. I must admit to abhorring texts populated by historical personages, such diminishes the accidental in our existence.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So It Seems

This snafu was the result of utility workers. It was also a glaring situation where if we bothered to use the land line, we could've noticed this two days ago. Alas, my wife uses her iphone and I smile with every passing hour that the phone remains silent.

I have been on tear of sorts, five books in 10 days. I was surprised by the Coe despite its Dickensian dovetailing. This is a necessary tome where the true costs of privatisation and deregulation are explored. This was charming and powerful book. Volpi is likened to Richard Powers and Carlos Fuentes on Season of Ash's back matter. I would say that Volpi captures the worst of Powers and that of Jonathan Franzen (which isn't exactly a taxing endeavor) by revealing a series of plastic characters involved in science, finance and government and expecting the confluence to overpower us. It was a timely read, especially with regard to yesterday and the Wall. Despite the detail for human bickering, the novel read like a random drama for androids 1.0


The wireless at home isn't operating correctly, thus I am at a stand-up kiosk at the library. I would like to note that I have read Jonathan Coe's What a Carve-Up and Season of Ash by Jorge Volpi in the last in five days. Both tackle methodology, one succeeds in being human, tragic and rather risible: the other is bleak, but almost by the numbers. Wait for restored wireless coverage for the stunning conclusion.

Friday, November 06, 2009

A Notepad Pause

I should spend time in the future w/ Tournier and Genet.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tonight's Fare

My wife read The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan last weekend and hinted that I should make every effort to read such. Apparently I often process such signals and actually act in accord. i read such today and was floored by this bent tale. Years ago (a decade?) Joel and I shared an awed glance at the set piece of Delillo's Body Artist; here's a topography of a marriage in a breakfast; Sir Ian chooses to follow a holiday and all that such portends for a couple: a character muses that the true value of a vacation is longing for home. McEwan in his twisted phase, certainly raised the necessary incentives to crawl wombward.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Pause

I completed The Case of Comrade Tulayev this evening. I don't feel hale, congested and a spot of ache: the thematics of the text didn't help. I went back afterwards and read the introduction by Susan Sontag. She goes to lengths to explain Serge's omission from modern French and Russian literary traditions. She makes analogies by way of Koestler's Darkness At Noon. I have never read that novel, even when reading a biography of Koestler w/ samizdat. I do recall Bill Clinton stating that he felt like the protagonist of the novel during the impeachment hearings; he said this, of course, to Vaclav Havel, who kept his incredulity furtive.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Victor Serge

And where are they anyway, today's Decembrists' wives? Standing in the queues for wine.
-- Victor Astafiev

I read the quoted story Lyudochka to a pair of my clients a few weeks back. A treacherous tale of desolation, it struck a valued contrast with the support we hope to extend to our own at-need.

I picked up my copy of The Case of Comrade Tulayev yesterday, took it to Louisville on my cycle trek and then buried myself within it after cleaning out the gutters and raking leaves. I am at p. 210 and am marvelled. This is a proud novel, staring without pause into the maw of the Terror. It is more than worthy to stand aside Dombrovsky, Kis, Grossman and Solzhenitsyn. Party functionaries retreat to a snowy meadow to debate whether Genghis Khan had revolutionary tendencies, not even allowing the metaphor of a Khan with a telephone to enter their discussion. This point lingers and then is articulated.

I am afraid and I am ashamed, not of myself but of all of us. I think of those
who have been shot, I see their faces, I hear their jokes, and i have migraines
that medicine has not yet named-a little pain the color of fire fixes
itself in the back of my neck. I am afraid, afraid, not so much afraid of dying
as of nothing and everything. .

This isn't the binary links between executioner and victim, this unravelling of the human psyche, a manufactured madness in the name of sweeping Progress. I suppose my friend Pint will be pleased with this assessment. I have given him such a hard time as of late for extrapolating the Third Reich in the 30s with the present administration. Let us all keep warm and allow our dreams to keep the wind's howl at bay.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Now What?

Had i listened to my friend I could have devoted time to my ready diet of Fitzgerald and Gissing. Alas wires have proven crossed and I am adrift pondering. I am on holiday next week and was thinking of trying to finish Middlemarch this time.

No More

You have to be concerned about a novel which under develops its characters but devotes considerable emphasis and precision to computer specifications and the abuse of women. I am glad to have completed Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Such frightens me, not only the subject matter, but the vehemence its supporters employ. It was a horrible book.