Currently Reading: Chapter II

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Adrian
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by Adrian »

I've tried reading a little of Knausgaard's work, but it just doesn't click with me. Tedious and whiney as fas as I can tell. And too much, spread over 6 volumes. His wife's small novel (120 pages), likely unavailable in English at the moment, is an incredible piece of work however, so 'Knausgaard' is not a total loss :-)
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Hayao Yamaneko
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by Hayao Yamaneko »

surfer wrote:
surfer wrote: " . . . . a wedding dress. A cloud? No, a white dress, without the form of a dress, of course, or rather: without the form of a human, which it takes when placed on its owner or a mannequin, but instead its authentic form, the pure form of a dress, which no one ever has occasion to see, because its not simply a question of seeing it as a mountain of fabric thrown over a table or a chair. That is formlessness. The form of a dress is a continuous transformation, limitless.

And it was the most beautiful and complicated wedding dress ever made, an unfolding of all the white folds, a soft model of a universe of whites. Flying at thirty-thousand feet with what appeared to be majestic slowness, even though it must have been going very fast (there was no point of reference in the blue abyss of daylight), and changing shape ceaselessly, endlessly, giant swan, forever opening new wings, its tail forty-two feet long, hyperfoam, exquisite corpse, flag of my country."
The reason why I quote this passage is that I think its an important metaphor for how he sees his writing and his work. His writing's "pure form", writing without the form of a book, and not the form it has when thrown over a chapter or a novella. Writing of "continuous transformation". Maybe that's obvious to those who read the passage, and perhaps its not a new strategy, to have myths, folklore, landscape, narrative improvisation serve as doors to open the field exponentially, but I thought it was worth pointing out.
Nice post - that's a really appealing idea. It makes me think of Feldman, though it sounds like the results are very different in character, even allowing for the different media. But that attempt to swallow forms into continuous transformation - not completely refusing a form for a moment at least, always leaving it as a real potential but never recovering it.

And I wonder if that's just the best way out of the space between our current rock and hard place - criticism and ironic appropriation. It makes me think of Kraznahorkai too - though I'm not sure I could expand on that without a bit more thought.
And if you were going to describe the kind of music I'd like to be able to make, it would be something like that: a continuous transformation of form that even invites forms, affects and contents but never allows them to become decisive.

At any rate, you've sold me on reading more Aira :)

cdeupree
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by cdeupree »

I liked book 2 of Knausgaard even more than the first. He manages to capture all of the wonderful detail that makes up a life, nothing heroic, just a luminous description of an ordinary day-to-day events. I liked the way he started the novel well into his marriage, with three kids, then peeled back the flashbacks like onion layers to get to the beginning of the relationship. The sequence around the birth of his first daughter was one of the most moving passages I've ever read. Not much continuity between the first two books, I think one could read the second without having read the first. I've already picked up book 3 in hardback, a holiday present to myself.

Currently switching between Keri Hulme's The Bone People, Booker-winning novel by a Maori author from New Zealand, and Lynne Segal's examination of aging, Out of Time. I had hoped the latter would provide some insight on my own feelings about aging, but so far (about half-way) the topics and issues have been more academic and not too relevant personally.

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surfer
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by surfer »

cdeupree wrote: Keri Hulme's The Bone People, Booker-winning novel by a Maori author from New Zealand.
I remember reading that about 20 years ago. About the woman who lives alone in a lighthouse with her guitar? Cant remember much except I hated it. :)

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Dohol
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

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surfer wrote:
cdeupree wrote: Keri Hulme's The Bone People, Booker-winning novel by a Maori author from New Zealand.
I remember reading that about 20 years ago. About the woman who lives alone in a lighthouse with her guitar? Cant remember much except I hated it. :)



yeah.. I disliked it intensely.. but it's rather iconic down in NZed. (winning a major international prize(such as the Booker) is a big thing down there) but the book (imho) is pretty awful...


she does get the west coast of the South Island vibe right though... (she had been a letter carrier over in Greymouth afterall... :) )
“In a kind of middle-aged crisis, it dawned upon me that there was a possibility that music might not even be an art form.”

Morton Feldman


http://soundcloud.com/doug-holbrook

Hayao Yamaneko
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by Hayao Yamaneko »

Curse of the Booker - winning it seems a fairly reliable indicator that a book may contain wet middlebrow starbucks humanism.

(that's a touch obnoxious, quite a few decent books have won.)

Hayao Yamaneko
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by Hayao Yamaneko »

Ok I take it all back - James Kelman won one for How Late It Was, How Late. I'm just being a snob.

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jon abbey
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by jon abbey »

the worst Booker Prize winner I think I read was Peter Carey-The True History of The Kelly Gang, just really thin and inconsequential.

it did turn me on to the great Aravind Adiga, though, I have really enjoyed both of his novels (The White Tiger and Last Man In Tower), I wish he'd come out with a new one.

cdeupree
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by cdeupree »

jon abbey wrote:the worst Booker Prize winner I think I read was Peter Carey-The True History of The Kelly Gang, just really thin and inconsequential.
I've tried a couple of Carey's. The Tax Inspector was pretty bizarre, but I liked it. OTOH I thought Oscar and Lucinda was difficult to swallow, and nobody in it was very appealing.

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jon abbey
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by jon abbey »

yeah, sometimes they give the award to a deserving writer for a very clearly lesser book, like Ian McEwan-Amsterdam, so maybe that was the case with the Carey book too.

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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by faster »

Image

Gilles Châtelet - To Live and Think Like Pigs: The Incitement of Envy and Boredom in Market Democracies
You, of all people, should understand

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surfer
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by surfer »

surfer wrote: Image
10:04 - Ben Lerner
“Develop a clear, geometric plot,” she says, “describe faces, even those at the next table; make sure the protagonist undergoes a dramatic transformation.” This is the advice the narrator's agent gives to the unnamed writer on how to make his second novel as successful as first, ostensibly "Leaving Atocha Station" one is left to guess. Needless to say, 10:04 does none of this, sliding from Marfan Syndrome, to the ins-and-outs of sperm donation (for his erstwhile girlfriend), to Whitman in Marfa Texas, Judd and the Brooklyn Bridge, hurricanes and dinosaurs. This is certainly the novel in its incarnation post-Sebald, the loosely autobiographical fiction may seem anecdotal but somehow all fits together. Compared to Atocha, the narrator is more wise, and tender, but no less sure of what to write, how to live, or how to be, authentically. His interior back and forth critical monologues with himself remind me of DFW, may be a bit more urban neurotic, but no less sincere. As in Atocha, some of the best passages comprise musings on art and poetry (Marclay and Bronk and Whitman and Judd, among others), as well as descriptions of luminous beauty. There's a brilliant passage on Duchamp's influence on the art world, (you can read more of his thoughts on the subject here: http://salvageartinstitute.org/benlerne ... arpers.pdf) The narrator visits a artist friend (Alena) who has secured a collection of "totaled art" from an insurance agency, damaged, sometimes in imperceptible ways, and opened an Institute of Totaled Art. He picks up a Cartier-Bresson print that seems to be in perfect condition.
I sat on the makeshift daybed Alena had constructed for her studio out of cinder blocks and an old mattress and studied the Cartier-Bresson. It had transitioned from being a repository of immense financial value to being declared of zero value without undergoing what was to me any perceptible material transformation. This was a reversal of the kind of recontextualization associated with Duchamp, still - unfortunately in my opinion - the tutelary spirit of the art world; this was the opposite of the "readymade" whereby an object of utility - a urinal, a shovel - was transformed into an object of art and an art commodity by the artist's fiat, by his signature. It was the reversal of that process and I found it much more powerful that what it reversed, because, like everyone else, I was familiar with material things that seemed to have taken on a kind of magical power as a result of a monetizable signature: that's how branding works in the gallery system and beyond, whether for Damien Hirst or Louis Vuitton. But it was incredibly rare - I remember the jar of instant coffee the night of the storm - to encounter an object liberated from that logic. What was the word for that liberation? Apocalypse? Utopia? I felt a fullness indistinguishable from being emptied as I held a work from which the exchange value had been extracted, an object that was otherwise unchanged. It was as if I could register in my hands a subtle but momentous transfer of weight: 21 grams of the market's soul had fled; it was no longer a commodity fetish; it was art before or after capital. Not the shattered or slashed works to which Alena thrilled, but those objects in the archive that both were and weren't different moved me: they had been redeemed, both in the sense that the fetish had been converted back into cash, the claim paid out, but also in the messianic sense of being saved from something, saved for something. An art commodity that had been exorcised of the fetishism of the market was to me a utopian readymade - an object for or from a future where there was some other regime of value other than the tyranny of price.
The book is buttressed by two storms, Irene and Sandy I presume, and the final coda does some interested things, the narrator briefly speaking in the second person and addressing the Reader, and then later switching to the future tense. As Lerner says in this really fascinating interview in The Believer (http://www.believermag.com/exclusives/? ... w_lerner_2), his metafictions don't draw attention to their own artificiality, instead, "it is a way of exploring how fiction functions in our real lives—for good and for ill—not a way of mocking fiction’s inability to make contact with anything outside of itself. My concern is how we live fictions, how fictions have real effects, become facts in that sense, and how our experience of the world changes depending on its arrangement into one narrative or another." An apt description of the entire book.

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surfer
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by surfer »

NR:

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Evan Dara - The Lost Scrapbook

Hayao Yamaneko
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by Hayao Yamaneko »

faster wrote:Image

Gilles Châtelet - To Live and Think Like Pigs: The Incitement of Envy and Boredom in Market Democracies
What do you think? I've not read but I'm interested that this is being sold as the counterpoint to Accelerationism.

I'd largely ignored Accelerationism until a friend (artist) was told by an academic in a prestigious art department that he was basically wrong to approach digital devices from a phenomenological perspective and "should" be approaching it from an Accelerationist perspective. You could replace those terms with the names of any two theoretical movements and I'd still think that statement was bollocks; but it narked me enough that the last few weeks I've been doing a lot of reading around Acceleration and its discontents.

mudd
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by mudd »

Evan Dara is great.

m

cdeupree
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by cdeupree »

Recently finished volume 3 of Knausgaard's Struggle. There doesn't seem to be any chronological order to the books, as this third book in the series recounts the earliest part of his life so far, from about ages six through thirteen, and covering a fairly typical life in the early 1970s. I recognized a lot of the music he listened to, even some of the books. Where it tied in strongly with the previous volumes is his relationship with his father, whom we already met in book one when Karl Ove and his brother returned to clean out the house after their father died. Dad is a bit of a tyrant, and even at this young age the relationship shows signs of strain.

It seems like My Struggle is a set of semi-independent novels featuring the same characters, rather than one long saga broken into separate volumes like Proust. So far I've liked the second volume the best, about falling in love and starting a family.

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surfer
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

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surfer wrote:NR:

Image

Evan Dara - The Lost Scrapbook
I was less enthusiastic about this one Mark. A seemingly endless stream of monologues (or at the very least first person voices) never really weave into a substantial tapestry for me. However, that's not even my biggest problem with the first 3/4 of the book, which isnt its total lack of plot, its that most of these people, despite their digressions on things like Partch, Chomsky, Piaget, are not that interesting to listen to. To my ear, there's very little poetry here, particularly the long (triple and quadruple spaced) 170 page section about a pirate radio DJ driving around in his car who encounters a forest hermit. Up until the final toxic spill section, it reminded me of Linklater's "Waking Life", just a series of encounters with curious people, monologues melding into one another. I am not a fan of that movie either.

The final section which concerns the Ozark photo chemical company and a toxic waste incident and its effect on the immediate community, interrupts this river and collects it in a pool of voices all swirling around a vortex. They come very quickly, often separated by paragraphs or even dashes or not separated at all. Its gets a bit tedious and predictable by the end, when the reader is treated to a symbolic tree and vision of envelopes falling from the sky like leaves. Despite all this, I didnt actively dislike this novel, but I cant recommend it either.

NR concurrently:

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The World That Never Was - Alex Butterworth

and

Image

mudd
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by mudd »

to be fair it's been maybe 15 years since I read it, but I remember the drifty atmosphere of the radio announcer working ok for me.

dara's later two novels are more focused and less gimmicky, if you're ever inclined to give him another shot. my favorite is probably the easy chain, which starts as sort of a party gossip character sketch but transitions suddenly into a perseverating stream of consciousness. Flee is more wistful and sad, but all of the books are very cautious about letting the reader get close to the characters.

m

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surfer
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by surfer »

I might give those a try at some point, thanks

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Piano Mouth
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Re: Currently Reading: Chapter II

Post by Piano Mouth »

Reading The Lost Scrapbook. Can't say I'm in love with it, though I don't dislike it either. I'm at the part of the radio announcer DJ part. I want to like it more, but honestly can't say that I can. It's good on some levels for me though, I had forgotten what the book was about, and jumping right into it just made me more confused and not sure what to expect.

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