Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Orientalism by Edward W. Said


The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick by Peter Handke


Strange unsettling sort of boring story of a construction worker who used to be a soccer goalie and gets fired and murders a woman. Rest of narrative follows his unraveling sanity - I guess - as language and time become unreal to him and he waits to be apprehended. Sort of remember seeing a film version of it in college.

The World As I Found It by Bruce Duffy


An amazing experience of a novel, about the imagined life of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, and G.E. Moore. Duffy's writing seems almost out of another time, recalling Henry James, and even some of the Victorians. It's a dense, moving, obsessive book

The piano wire was humming, and ever so faintly he was trembling, thinking what a thing it was to dread one's own self -- and to see the self as enemy or other, not as companion, guide, sanctuary. (p. 31)

letter from his father:  No doubt you think your work is an obligation, if one patently self-proclaimed. But if you truly had such a vocation, I am convinced, the world already would have found you. This has not been the case, as is evinced by your own telling lack of convictions; or perhaps by a fear that, beneath it all, you may only be ordinary. (You are not, and will never be, ordinary.) (62)

fully nine-tenths of the world's business was pointless lunacy in the cause of general employment (83)

What is mind? - sniff - no matter. What is matter? - sniff - never mind. (84)

More than life separates the dead from the living, and more than logic separates this world from the next: with logic, there is illogic, too. (121)

Grief (121)

... as his mind, like a dog sled, pulled him along, still thinking... (148)

This is not how things are, and yet we can say how things are not. (148)

(p. 306-307

Monday, March 21, 2022

The Catherine Wheel by Jean Staffod


The prose in this extraordinary dense novel is difficult to pluck from: it is one long glorious knotty vivid piece.

No longer than it took the Catherine wheel to spin itself to nothing and leave the summer sky to the stars did it take her to see that he could not, could never see her. [82]

... these vivacious creatures, brimming with gossip and personal style, loving to quote from Dr. Johnson's dictionary, perpetually happy because their work was finished and all the demands upon them had been withdrawn and they were married to their houses and their habits and their infirmities...[164]

.... she was cast into a shadow by their conflagration, for they were so very young! And their hearts were very simple, and their minds were so clear and shallow, their ambitions so modest and direct that she was certain they would never come to grief. Theirs, in the end, was the supreme talent: they had the talent for happiness and it radiated from them even in their perpetration of these addled, adolescent idiocies; it was their one depth and it amazed her for they had had neither the help of heredity or environment to bring about its cultivation. [263-264]

The Small Back Room by Nigel Balchin


A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh


Can't believe I had never read this. Marvelous. Driven to it by its echoes in the Thomas McGuane short story "Fugitives."

Waugh seamless goes from satire to comedy to tragedy, almost in the same sentence sometimes.

Ending more tragic, black humor.

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Complete Stories by Evelyn Waugh


This, from Hollywood satire "Excursion To Reality," I found strangely prescient, from 1932.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Little Drummer Girl by John Le Carre


Mind numbingly long and complicated acting-within-acting-within-terror-cells. May or may not finish it. Awesome early 1970s Greece slutty hippies, which is something.

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