'I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free'
By the time I get to the last third of a long novel I've forgotten the first - and it was always the same, I'm sorry to say. Amstrad memory in an iPad world. So I like brevity and simplicity.
I **love** a good long book. Pynchon and two weeks in Cornwall - perfection :-)
Elby, I confess to never having read American literature for pleasure. Worse, ever having read Pynchon. But two weeks in Cornwall now - that would be lovely.S, have you reached the point where you are half way through a novel before you realise you have read it before? An unpleasant sense of unease followed by feeling irritated. I used to be convinced that paperbacks were being reissued under new titles with fresh covers.
EB: When you read Pynchon you wonder why British intellectuals give themselves airs.HG: Yes, oops. Good thing I get quite a few books cheaply from the charity shops.
Pynchon is HUGE fun. A wild imagination and a tap into the American psyche. I adore his work, ever since I stumbled across "V" as a late teenager. "Gravity's Rainbow" definitely in my top 10 novels. I'd also say that I read Roth for pleasure, tho' such as "American Pastoral" fill one with fear as well. The passage in the book in which the protagonist realises that his world is collapsing, and ends noting that all is heading towards "the American Berserk" is a monumental piece of prose. His end of century trilogy, American Pastor, The Human Stain & I Married A Communist the death knell for an America of hope. The themes of the American novel seem larger and more universal to me. When I see the likes of MacEwen lauded, I despair. University taught prose, that can shine, but subject matter that in now way illuminates us about the human condition whatsoever. Indeed, you can sum up MacEwen thus.A horrid person or persons does something nasty to a less horrid or horrid persons, and it goes downhill from there. Trite, and introverted. Mind you, he was a long time denizen of North Oxford, so he will have had his fill of the weird and the unpleasant. Pah.
V is Sinclair Lewis, I thought. But perhaps you don't like extra-terrestial carnivores, Elby. You see, you have to do a great deal to American literature to make it palatable to most of us. I'm prepared to read Pynchon's V during two weeks in Cornwall. Can't say fairer...
Nope, "V" is Pynchon; his first novel. Sackerson - I see Pynchon as the master of the shaggy dog story. The unparalleled master, indeed. Interlecthal? Hmmm. 2 weeks in Cornwall with "V" for you then, HG. Test on your return :-)It's getting harder and harder proving I am not a robot. Does that suggest I am one?
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