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Posts Tagged ‘Literature’

In which an unwritten work is mercilessly reviewed; or, what I’d like to see written and how…

In this instant classic of suspenselessness we find the villain Jan Hoovervort murdering the UN Secretary General and shooting fifteen delegates in Queens, then he makes an abortive path to Washington D.C. to tackle the sitting President with hugs and bullets. Suffice to say he does not complete his quest and he dies in the doing.

The immediate, glaring defect of this work is the fateful reconciliation to his task that Jan displays. He knows he is enforcing a coercive effect on history and he relishes the lifeless act of murder needed for completion. Yet the ease with which he flows in this mode is astounding. He relegates his life to the assassin’s creed and loves every minute of it. For he knows that murder is a simple art and if someone is to be deposed then all the easier for it. And that is the impact Jan Hoovervort gives to the world, the senseless homicide of a somewhat defenseless official. Jan mars the consciousness of this world with pure, facile evil.

The dominant strain of mur’drous writing inflicts on the reader a false suspension of disbelief. The truth is in the telling for the above mentioned faux ouvre. You would have had a difficult time with the cult classic Is Your Mind My Own?

Evan Kerry

12/2013

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Tim Parks in the New York Review of Books Blog has lost all hope, just by stating what is on all of our minds.

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/nov/07/literature-without-style/

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Chapter 1: In which an inveterate misanthropic blogger is ordered to halt his unneeded services.

Lee Siegel I wuv you. Male or Female. Human or Transient, Sentient, OmniCritical Being. You have made my life worth living again.  Just when I was getting depressed about kicking galley proofs and taking names, here, HERE you crop up and alter my melancholic, miasma of coherent blogging. I’m quite thrilled to be of the nameless masses. The man-in-the-street, the decidedly unapologetic, man without authority and bastard of the internets. (Pardon this thunderous, abject tone, one must be forgiven in this day and age of ante-whatever age is coming next nothingness) Lee Siegel I wuv you, for writing this:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/bios/lee_siegel/search?contributorName=Lee%20Siegel

The initial thrust of the article is to bury hatchets and then it disintegrates to name dropping and a host of other unpardonable sins. I think Siegel in his new found giddiness of discovering Happy Land or Paxil, has forgetten what most will not say. The largest portion of things being published are bad, unreadable, and therefore a monstrous waste of time. This in turn fuels the negativity of reviewing. Sure, Sure his reasons for the coterie of intellect here and there are entertaining, however a bad book unjustly, modestly and generously judged only harms. More to the point, the reviews aren’t the hatchets, the books they concern are. A prime example, for all of its degrees of facility both academic and peer-reviewed is that wunderkind of a website, the ever bravish, Bostonish, bespectacled, variety internet show http://www.themillions.com   If one is interested in trends of the literary, go there. If not, anywhere but. For there will be found all sorts of gladhanding, kidgloving and other preciosity of the nice sort. My stomach has turnt in the mentioning. But that is all fine fare, unless of course your name is B.R. Myers. Conferment of the authors of that website aside, we turn back to Lee Siegel. I hope against hope that you never write anything again.

Sincerely,

Evan Kerry

 

 

 

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It has always been the unique art of the critic, other than critiquing, to revive the forgotten. In a recent issue of the Times Literary Supplement we can see this in full effect. 

To pump the book with the magazine is stated below. This, though,is a special slab of the facade of the house of Fame. The victim this appearance is one Gerald Kersh. The fact that he pumped the pulps from his pen is especially noteworthy and probably the reason you should even bother with this, the review in the TLS, and his work.

The Link is here:

http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1315180.ece

First we are told what he accomplished and so forth, and then how he was forgotten. Somewhere in the middle of all of this highbrow reclamation the critic will namedrop either admirers of, or who the lost author happened to esteem. Which is grand and brilliant and every thing you can apply to it. And yet, I feel cheated by all of this. I don’t need a retelling and reconstruction of the dead. A simple blurb will suffice. The practice is tantamount to re-spoking the wheel and frankly it is old hash. The amount of labor spent on things like this is better left to sorting through the new dreck being published and telling us what to attend to.

 

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http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/aug/13/books-weve-lost/

Charles Simic clearly cannot stand America, so my reaction is that he should go and try Arabia.

In the above connected article Charles wrings the almost dry hatred-towel of its’ Anti-Americana dew and places it on the NYRB blog for us to gawk at. The article is nominally about the loss of secondhand book stores and his apparent mourning sums to a base elegy which only cloaks an un-seething hatred for America the Brave. Triteness abounds in this fillet of shite. I’d have been better off reading a flier for a charity handed to me in the street than this blogged scroll of putrescence. For Charles is not aiming his spears with a Luddite aim, he is apparently better than that and presumably smarter than most, hence the NYRB association, he is just a blither blathering snob cloaked in the ruminative garb of the ‘smart set.’ A set which has let the petrol run out, stopped the car and is clearly suffocating on the fumes and plumes of an older mentality and enjoying every damn minute of their demise. 

But Chollie, I must agree, ’tis a shame to see the dearth of physical, real property secondhand bookshops in this country and others.  The smell of must alone is worth the trip, it is the sort of smell I imagine when i read your ‘words-you-mean-to-string together-in-place-of-thought.’

Adooby dooby doo…

Evan Kerry

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Three Men in A Boat – Jerome K. Jerome

Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow – Jerome K. Jerome

The Edinburgh Caper – St. Clair McKelway

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie

Night Flight – Antoine de Saint Exupery

Scots Poetry – John Buchan

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I’ve finished the first third of this memoir, which is chock full of interesting information. After reaching the point where Graves has enlisted, I feel that the rest of the book must go downhill. What is colorful and pointed during his lively childhood should serve to counterpoint the horrors of the First World and will probably be done with the same masterful tone.

The public school bits of the beginnings of the book serve to capture the most interest while reading. Those and the description of Bavaria pre-WWI neatly round out how flush Robert Graves ancestors and contemporaries were with culture. Which in turn allowed Graves’ pen to flow so freely here and with many other works.

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