I’m on the fence about Child Of God. I thought the first half was really strong, but after that i felt it kind of went downhill a bit.
Definitely a good novel, but strangely enough i actually preferred Outer Dark.
While reading Outer Dark i imagined it like a Bela Tarr film mixed with Sokurov’s muted colour palette :-)
NATHAN: Just a warning about Mccarthy. If you really connect with his style, you will want to read all his work. I’ve read pretty much all of his novels in the last 10-12 months(and re-read both No Country and The Road in that time too, as i first read them years ago), and trust me, there is no escape!!! ;-)
I’ve spoken to a few Mccarthy fans recently that still haven’t got to Suttree. I keep trying to push it on them. Magnificient novel. Arguably his best, along with Blood Meridian.
MATT: I’m halfway through Running Dog now. Would you see that it’s kind of a warm up to Libra? I have that lying around somewhere too. Was Running Dog Delillo’s first ‘conspiracy’ type novel that functions as a kind of offbeat thriller?
I’m enjoying Running Dog but it seems a little superficial to me. I won’t judge until i’ve finished it though.
There are more or less clearly defined conspiratorial elements in DeLillo’s work from the beginning, but to my recollection it’s a central concern in the book he wrote right before than one, Players. I’m going to hold off commenting on Running Dog since you’re still reading it and it’s been years since I’ve read it. . . other than to say that I think it’s the beginning of a almost twenty year stretch (up until Underworld in 1997) that’s as good as anything we’ve seen (or are likely to see) in my lifetime. It’s the least-great of his greatest works, perhaps, but that’s an awfully faint criticism.
MATT: I must say that after re-reading Point Omega i must agree with you on it being his most satisfying novel of the last decade. I’m pretty sure it was you that said that. There are images and ideas in that book that have definitely stayed with me over time.
and the ambiguous link between the Psycho 24 hour screening and the rest of the ‘narrative’, for example, is just one of the many tantalising brain teasers that feels substantive, rather than just gimmicky. There is a genuine resonance to that whole section of the novel that is difficult to put your finger on, but is wonderfully evocative nonetheless, regardless of one’s take on it.
Are there any contemporary novelists that understand cinema like Delillo? Occasionally he name drops for the sake of it, but generally speaking, i get the feeling that he has great insight into the (symbolic and technical) workings of the medium.
“I’m pretty sure it was you that said that.”
“Are there any contemporary novelists that understand cinema like Delillo?”
Can’t think of anyone off the top of my head . . . though there’s a good chance I’m forgetting someone.
Good place to start.
In most circumstances, I wouldn’t recommend books about necrophilic cave dwellers as a “good place to start”.
Arguably his best, along with Blood Meridian.
I think Suttree or BM might be his greatest, but my favorite is The Crossing. I can’t get over that book. Billy Parham could be my favorite literary character.
I have tried this once before.
“In most circumstances, I wouldn’t recommend books about necrophilic cave dwellers as a “good place to start”.”
LOL . . . can’t argue with that.
I’m half way through Street of Crocodiles and it’s excellent
I’m delighted with our next door neighbour. She’s 70, a very kind, friendly and cheerful (working class) woman, and she’s been reading some books i’ve lent her- Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, Rings of Saturn by Sebald, and Evening Clouds by Shono- and enjoyed them all!
Finished Child of God this afternoon.
I kind of agree with Joks in that the book became less compelling once it picked up a sustained narrative thread about 120 pages in. But that’s a pretty insignificant criticism for a book that was, scene for scene, incredible.
I adore Schulz. Have you read Cynthia Ozick’s The Messiah of Stockholm?
Cormac McCarthy ‘The Orchard Keeper’
Knut Hamsun, “Hunger” Too bad about that whole nazi thing…
Thoughts on McCarthy’s The Orchard Keeper: Firstly, supposedly this is a lot like Faulkner, but since i have read zero Faulkner, i therefore have no frame of reference and must make do my knowledge of McCarthy from reading his other novels. The plot is practically non-existent in this book. I understand that Cormac has a penchant for sparse, episodic narratives, but I’d argue that O.K has even less plot than The Road. To say that narrative inertia is the name of the game here would be a severe understatement. All the ‘summaries’ i’ve read about what the book is about don’t ring true to me at all, as they generally don’t mention the old man, and present the novel as a kind of relationship between a bootlegger and a kid that is linked by death in a way that isn’t apparent to either of them. That is part of the story, no doubt, but it doesn’t appear to be the central plotline, or at least it isn’t meant to be in a conventional sense. Instead, there is plenty of focus on the natural world, which is Faulkner derived i guess? It was reminiscent of The Crossing at times, with its strong emphasis on landscape, but the characters are not as developed. This aspect of the novel was handled extremely well. The novel works mostly on the level of atmosphere and mood. It evokes a feeling of time and place. However, McCarthy’s other novels also do that successfully while actually telling a worthwhile story.
I wish the story focussed on the old man, and was a tale of ageing and cultural obsolescence(again, it’s there, but it’s not really ‘locked in’) with the story of the kid and bootlegger functioning as a sub-plot. There wasn’t really any focus to it at all. Everything feels like bloody sub-plot!!!i But i guess that is kind of the point. There is nothing ‘significant’ about life as presented in the Orchard Keeper. You have your time, you live, and then you just kill time until death.
Man is temporal, nature is eternal.
I’d give this book a 7/10 for the strong writing and atmospheric qualities. It’s also of some interest to McCarthy fans that want to glimpse his style in its early embryonic phase.
Decided to revisit my collection of stories, trying to get through as many of the unread ones as possible. Thinking of looking into getting another collection, or two, in the future [since I’m unsure whether I want the Library of America edition.]
One of my faves from my college days. Yes, a shame about his Nazi sympathies but then most of Europe has a whole lot of explaining to do over what went down back then.
Have you see Jan Troell’s excellent Hamsun (1996)?
So far, Hunger is surpassing my expectations (I wouldn’t be surprise if Saul Bellow, of all people, read his share of Hamsun novels). I haven’t watched anything by Troell, but would be interested to see how he handles the the ideological side of Hamsun.
As a doglover, I’m check that out. Thank you.
Other than that, I finished Camus’ The Plague.
Onto Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood.
About 200 page in, Angle or Repose has been, um…perplexing(?)
The framing device (old crotchety cripple recounts his grandparent’s life in the west during the expansion years) is grating almost to the point of being unbearable, but once Stegner sets him to the side, the book is fairly interesting. I’ve got a ways to go, so I’m hoping for a cumulative effect here.
I actually lost that science fiction book I was reading. I’ll finish it if I find it but if I don’t, I’m not all that concerned. It wasn’t keeping my attention, obviously.
Anyway I read the introduction to the Oxford Classics edition of this book last night and think the idea of investigating the populace’s contract with its government to be compelling, though apparently Rousseau has some areas where his investigation is problematic, and other areas where he has points he makes rather evasively. I’m going to be interested to see how this turns out.
^^good to see you arent just being lazy and sticking to the po-mo texts!!
Rosseau was a compelling figure. he is great to read so long as you don’t go in expecting much consistency.us
His concept of the noble savage is greatly misunderstood.
Rousseau i meant to type, not Rosseau!
Actually I am a lazy reader and movie viewer nowadays. I used to exert tremendous effort to tackle ‘essentials’ and ‘canons’ and ‘greats’ and now I pretty much stick to what I like and what is made cheaply and effortlessly available to me.
POLARIS: Do you read books or e-books or a mix of both?
I used to be a lazy reader, but i’m more focussed now. I’m just glad that Penguin classics are so cheap at the moment. Means i can afford to pick up several at a time.
Did you ever get around to reading Hobbes ‘Leviathan’?
I’d love to read e-books if I had a reader, but I don’t and I stare at the computer screen enough for Internet-ing and work.
In the meantime I’m just reading through my roommates’ (plural) bookshelves. I’m pretty sure these copies of The Prince and The Social Contract were from one of their political theory or philosophy or classics classes.
I am probably going to request a reader for Christmas and if that works out, I’ll just download free public realm works and stuff.