Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Thursday, October 08, 2020
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Well, I sailed into this one with best of intentions, as a huge fan of Kaufman's screenplays, particularly BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and SYNECHDOCE NEW YORK.
But this book wore me out. Its multiple regressions, its non-linear plot and obsession with time-travel-tomfoolery, its thousand characters (all abandoned before they're at all realistic): that kind of shit just did me in, especially over 700 pages, perhaps twice as a long as I would be comfortable doing the kind of po-mo dance Kaufman was leading me through, although I'm pretty sure he did it consciously: as Randall Jarrell commented about difficult 20th century poetry, in POETRY AND THE AGE, "The poet said 'Since you won't read me, I'll make sure you can't'."
The first half of the book was extraordinary and bristling with unexpected turns and new directions. There were a million cultural references, most very funny, some very mean-spirited, often goth. There were a lot of puns: some funny, some funny and stupid, some just very stupid indeed.
For me the problem in the second half was it was as if Kaufman had abandoned the first half altogether and decided to start over. I expect connection, conflict, and resolution: a tonic.
The book's ancestors are DF Wallace, Vonnegut, Pynchon, undoubtedly, as many reviewers are saying. I found a much strong echo of Gore Vidal in his awesome MYRA BRECKINRIDGE and MYRON novels.
You can read a (also overly long) plot summary here. I am no longer a young enough man to provide you one written by myself.
Maybe it was just time for me to read another enormously long, enormously annoying novel, as I did in January of this year.
Friday, August 21, 2020
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Cool stuff, so far. As always with Mitchell.
It's the dialogue that I dislike. The band members in particular, always communicate in highly ironic, punning, and elliptical exchanges that don't ring true to me.
And though Utopia Avenue is an imaginary band, the rest of swinging London's psychedelic rock scene is realistically evoked: Brian Jones of the Stones, the band Traffic, Nick Drake, Herman's Hermits, the Byrds, the painter Francis Bacon, Rod Stewart in his Small Faces days. These characters also speak freely with the members of Utopia Avenue -- I find their presentation more authentic.
Thursday, July 30, 2020
music as "auditory cheesecake"
Isaac, when game is falling apart: "it's mostly fine."
another instance of my manic mind urging me to adopt an unlikely persona that would be discarded as soon as my self-loathing dicated that it should be
the problem with trying to solve your own psychological problems is that you're inside the delusion you're trying to diagnose
Paul Morphy: "The ability to play chess is the sign of a gentleman. The ability to play chess well is the sign of a wasted life."
In a way, it happens to everyone, with age - the volume of experience gets turned down.