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Reading thread - Page 30

post #436 of 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinsongreen68 View Post

to me it has a hollow ring in the sense that it reaches for easy images of the eternal/sublime; there's a certain (ersatz?) melvillian poetry to it but melville's extraordinary rhetorical flights are balanced by reams of careful exposition. even then I don't think melville would speak of the 'vast soul' of a whale, perhaps because he knew a bit about whales, so he's better at describing what happens when you harpoon them, scoop out their fat and boil it down

Whoah, that's great... It would be interesting to hear exactly how you guys define prose in this context.

For me, the above might be a bit too conceptual, maybe more in line with theme or plot than what I'd normally consider prose. The taste and content of the imagery surely figure in, but much later, after what DeLillo likes to call the brute electricity of sound, that initial attack on the senses that your body will either accept or repel on instinct. For me, McCarthy's got that in spades. That ability to lift the hair on your arms through his particular refinement of ancient rhythms. Peel the sentences of meaning (or at least create silly new ones), and you might see this clearer. (At least I do):

Quote:
They were watching, out there past wren's lowing, where pears are browning and jails bury their last moles through the black and seamless knee.

I would still take that over most!

Not that anyone discounts this -- just for me, this kind of thing supersedes anything more intellectual or abstract when trying to rank beauty.
post #437 of 799
That ability to lift the hair on your arms through his particular refinement of ancient rhythms. Peel the sentences of meaning (or at least create silly new ones), and you might see this clearer.


Yeah thats really good, agree with what you're saying here. A sentence that comes to mind (from 'As I Lay Dying'):

"When Jewel can almost touch him, the horse stands on his hind legs and slashes down at Jewel. Then Jewel is enclosed by a glittering maze of hooves as by an illusion of wings; among them, beneath the upreared chest, he moves with the flashing limberness of a snake. "

And thanks for the recommendation, I will read Blood Meridian and report back foo.gif
post #438 of 799

I found McCarthy insufferable; like he was making a calculated effort to come across as *insert praise here*. 

 

:rotflmao:Oh man, I forgot about the bestiality in As I Lay Dying

post #439 of 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinsongreen68 View Post

A sentence that comes to mind (from 'As I Lay Dying')...

All discussions of McCarthy lead to Faulkner. The first few lines of the final section of The Sound and the Fury are like that for me. I've read and re-read it so many times and how it's so...just so fucking precisely evocative of the missing pieces of the rest of the story lifts the hair off my arms.

@futuresailors – I can't tell if you're being glib about Faulkner, and you don't like McCarthy, so what's something you find more interesting?
post #440 of 799

I was being serious about Faulkner (though that's not to say I don't enjoy him), but I think that's a pretty standard reading of As I Lay Dying; if you can make something vulgar out of a passage, it probably is.  It's supposed to humorous after all.

 

I find it far more interesting to read "midbrow" speculative fiction for social allegories than most Great literature. Since Gibson was mentioned earlier, I think he's a great example of someone you can enjoy for the story as well as the underlying concept without being affronted by the Writer Complex.

 

@lesamourai Have you read Ancillary Justice? Robot spaceship animated corpses!

post #441 of 799
Nope, but I'll put that on my list once I finish rereading Neuromancer
post #442 of 799
Neuromancer nod[1].gif

also if you haven't read it already I recommend going straight to Snow Crash since its basically jacked up absurdist neuromancer
post #443 of 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by futuresailors View Post

I found McCarthy insufferable; like he was making a calculated effort to come across as *insert praise here*. 

rotflmao.gif Oh man, I forgot about the bestiality in As I Lay Dying

I've carried that sentence in my mind for years without considering the bestiality aspect, but now that you've pointed it out, I don't entirely discount it.. is there an echo of Yeats's leda and the swan (published the preceding year i think) there, both in terms of the image and the percussive force of the language? 'the great wings beating still/Above the staggering girl'
also isn't there a bit of yeatsian cadence/imagery in the mccarthy quote? kinda like 'were you but lying cold and dead/and lights were paling out of the west'
Edited by robinsongreen68 - 3/7/14 at 3:04am
post #444 of 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by fireflygrave View Post

I guess it comes down to personal taste. I tend to prefer starkness and (seeming) simplicity in writing, even a sense of coldness in the right places. It's why I'm so I'm fond of the writing of McCarthy, and why I want to learn Japanese to compare Murakami in translation to the original, and probably why I misliked Chabon's Yiddish Policeman's Union so much, despite liking the story- I thought he stuffed too much into a sentence, and a lot of them felt like he was just smirking over your shoulder, waiting for a compliment on the cleverness of his writing. That doesn't necessarily mean I think Chabon writes badly, but I don't care for it.

Again though, that's my personal bias. I tend to like stark aesthetics in general.


Never read Rushdie then, you'll be 10 pages and and sick the prose.

 

I tend to enjoy overly flowery prose (and also starkness) - I enjoy Chabon's novels.

 

I wouldn't call Murakami stark though - almost the opposite - there'll be pages devoted to everyday routines, or the description of a dream - almost the opposite of McCarthy's almost emotionally void writing.

 

 

post #445 of 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by fireflygrave View Post

Neuromancer nod[1].gif

also if you haven't read it already I recommend going straight to Snow Crash since its basically jacked up absurdist neuromancer

 

Snowcrash is basically the greatest book of all time. The opening alone is worth it, the fact it continues to be totally awesome the entire time is an intense bonus. For those unconvinced, I present this as a discussion for prose:

 

“The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallow subcategory. He's got esprit up to here. Right now, he is preparing to carry out his third mission of the night. His uniform is black as activated charcoal, filtering the very light out of the air. A bullet will bounce off its arachnofiber weave like a wren hitting a patio door, but excess perspiration wafts through it like a breeze through a freshly napalmed forest. Where his body has bony extremities, the suit has sintered armorgel: feels like gritty jello, protects like a stack of telephone books.”

post #446 of 799
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey is great contemporary Sci-Fi but nobody seems to have read it.
post #447 of 799
McCarthy has pages of everyday routines too! I've read All the Pretty Horses twice and all I remember is caballeros mopping up beans with tortillas and petting horses.

I like writing that makes me slow down and digest it, and McCarthy/Rushdie/Nabokov/Faulkner all fit into that camp. Rushdie was the first I read doing that sort of thing but I've fallen out of love with him a little since then. It is a little obnoxious when writing exudes "dayumm I'm clever", especially when they're clever enough to get away with it.
Edited by wogbog - 3/7/14 at 6:21am
post #448 of 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post


Never read Rushdie then, you'll be 10 pages and and sick the prose.

I tend to enjoy overly flowery prose (and also starkness) - I enjoy Chabon's novels.

I wouldn't call Murakami stark though - almost the opposite - there'll be pages devoted to everyday routines, or the description of a dream - almost the opposite of McCarthy's almost emotionally void writing.


Oh, see, what I mean by 'stark' is the feeling of the prose, not it's efficiency. Murakami can go on and on about tiny details but the way he does it, so matter-of-fact and simply is what I mean. The opposite of the way Murakami does detail would be in my mind the way Dickens does it.
post #449 of 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by wogbog View Post

McCarthy has pages of everyday routines too! I've read All the Pretty Horses twice and all I remember is caballeros mopping up beans with tortillas and petting horses.

I like writing that makes me slow down and digest it, and McCarthy/Rushdie/Nabokov/Faulkner all fit into that camp. Rushdie was the first I read doing that sort of thing but I've fallen out of love with him a little since then. It is a little obnoxious when writing exudes "dayumm I'm clever", especially when they're clever enough to get away with it.

I've only read The Satanic Verses, but Rushdie's writing is wonderful. I don't know if you're accusing him of being clever (and getting away with it), I don't get that feeling of artifice/contrivance that I associate with "clever" writers.

For me, a better example than Chabon (though he's just as guilty of it), is Umberto Eco. His semiological work is without flaw, but his prose is so needlessly ornate – almost to the point of being overcome with kitsch. He's obviously a brilliant thinker, but he's incapable of not lording it over the prose. For me, it was just eye roll after eye roll of convoluted over-feeling. It's like a series of strings of the whale quote from McCarthy. When you use them sparingly, it holds, but when that grandeur is a writer's M.O. it's tiresome.
post #450 of 799
^^ I couldnt finish the last Eco novel, extremly complicated and dificult to get into. And I love foucoults pendelum and enjoyed baudolina and the name of the rose.
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