8.12.09

A "really-should-stick-to-promises" post

So, backstory.

Firstly, Joyce. And that book.

This is an update of no update. And just to make it clear how much of a non-update it is, this post is a redraft of a draft that was first made six weeks ago.

I did not read an additional page since the last post on it. I blame the man, and I blame Suketu.

See, after two years of owning this book, and forgetting to pack it every time I went home (or choosing to, rather - because really, why would I be carrying more books back here?), I finally got round to getting hold of a copy from the local library. And I couldn't help but drop everything else to finish it off first. Not that it's perfect (nowhere close), but the book reinforced a lot of things I've grown to accept and be scared of. More on that later.

And when I returned to Joyce, after revisiting so much...reality, his book felt so....silly. Pretentious. All look-at-me-I'm-so-much-smarter-and-have-you-got-all-the-references smugly superior. And yes, I'm impressed by the dedication and imagination it took. And I'm sure I'd appreciate it more if it was taken apart bit by bit in a critical review class.

But that's the point. Books are meant to educate, enlighten, entertain, comfort, and challenge. By themselves. Not by having to be taught.

I'm quite willing to tackle difficult books, drive-you-crazy books (oh, Something Happened!, how you still haunt my dreams), books that take ages to get through because you have to re-read every page to absorb its meaning.

And while this was a challenge, with every page it felt more as if he did not really want you to win.

It was as if he was thinking - Well, first now that I've got this awesome underlying concept (which nobody would realise unless it was pointed out to them), let me throw in all these random religious and linguistic references just to make sure they sit with four other books to understand it. And then - oh boy - then let me write it so crazily that they'll call me a genius for fear of appearing stupid.

Which is all fine. But you know what? I don't have to put up with it. I'm not going to be implicitly sneered at just because they didn't teach Latin when I was at school and my arse wasn't walloped by fervent Catholic priests who hated the weather of the place they lived in.

So, if you were still interested, Chapter 3 was where it ended. I just got bored.

That said - 'likelily'. Such a lovely word. He's absolved for that.


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I use too many .... (just had a 30-second blankout trying to remember the word)...brackets. Apropos of nothing.

4 comments:

brinda said...

AND you're back! (Or are you? Have you twittered away again??!) As for Joyce, I'm trying to remember what my lit crit prof said when some of us called Ulysses pretentious. But that was a 100 years ago and I can't remember much, except that it was scathing. Oh well...

Shyam said...

As good a review of Joyce as any, and more understandable than most! :)

??! said...

Brin:
Being meanie? No being meanie.

Shyam:
Why thank you.

km said...

Suketu > Joyce

Paging Dr. Falstaff! To the ER, Doctor!

//j/k