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"


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