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mo' mentum

Reading of late:

The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse Wyndham Lewis & Charles Lee, ed.: Sometimes the flame of inspiration throws up clinkers. The aporrhoea ranges from Abraham Cowley to Tennyson, with the best bits served up as hors d'ouerve and postprandial. While this serves to remind that even the best weren't always at their best, it's the forgotten, those left behind by shifting tastes (and those tastes themselves), that I found more of interest; overall, though, I prefer parody (e.g. eds. Dwight MacDonald, William Zaranka) as a means of teasing out such foibles.

V.S. Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas: One of those loose tight 19c-style thangs that I have such trouble getting through; in this case the book kinda like the ramshackle house, reading it kinda like being Mr. Biswas. The only other thing I'd read of his was A Bend in the River, long ago ... The Enigma of Arrival tempts, as anything borrowing from de Chirico (Apollinaire suggested the title) would for me (and "a sunlit sea journey ending in a dangerous classical city" brings to mind Broch's The Death of Virgil), but even though Servius' writing smiles, and the family portraiture excels, his style's just not my cuppa, so I may pass on ... anyway, glad perhaps somebody's satisfied now.

M. John Harrison, Nova Swing: A follow-up to Light, more quantum noir, won the award Light should have, doubling up on its lateness, this time generational. Nova Swing, while good, feels like the middle weak link to a trilogy (I can hope), not quite realizing its ambition. Vico Serotonin is tourguide for this pubcrawl among no-hopers nonetheless hopeful (opener). PS: I must mention the Rarebit-Fiend in conjunction.

I'm hoping my jadedness doesn't carry over into reading Donald Barthelme's Flying to America: 45 more stories (ed Kim Herzinger), just out, just in. (Of prior posthumous Herzinger compilations, I found The Teachings of Don B. to be essential, not so Not-Knowing.)


Anonymous Perezoso said...

Barthelme's one of those scribes that we are supposed to revere, but we don't. Like Pynchon the bric a brac overwhelms rather quickly.

Recently I perused Tim O'Brian's 'Nam recollection--"The Things They Carried"--and find that "school" (maybe Raymond Carver in there too--if not Steven Crane) a bit more authentic than the postmodernist jazz of Pynchon or Barthelme. Occasionally a Barthelme image pops out but it reminds one a bit of those 50s abstract paintings that now decorate the lobbies of Holiday Inns, or somethin.'

20/11/07 18:12  

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