Eccentric Musings (jakaEM)

"I have undergone sharp discipline which has taught me wisdom; and then, I have read more than you would fancy." Emily Brontë


still figuring this place out - Jen W

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Currently reading

Friend of My Youth
Alice Munro
Progress: 115/288 pages
Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature
Margaret Atwood
The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov, Diana Burgin, Katherine Tiernan O'Connor and with: "Although Varenukha was in a hurry, an irresistable urge compelled him to run in to the outside toilet for a second to check if the electrician had put netting over the light." (p 93, Burgin & O'Connor translation), I'm outta here.

I know, the plot has barely begun to develop. I've experienced only a couple of Pilate chapters. I've had enough to know, though, that this is not going to get better for me.

I have no doubt, none whatsoever, that this is a great book ... for others. For me, there is no realistic human emotion or motivation - sudden urges to check the fixtures in lavatories being just one example. Also, I couldn't keep all the characters - and their multiple and changing Russian names - straight, which just got to be bloody annoying.

I quite enjoy surrealism and outlandish characterization, especially as a send-up of philosophical concepts, political and otherwise (see just about anything by James Morrow). I *sometimes* enjoy parables, if they are done with a deft, not heavy, hand (yes, yes, yes to Not Wanted On The Voyage; no, no, no to Life of Pi). I enjoy dark and slapstick humour in fantastic settings (e.g., Doomsday Book), and I *very much* enjoy absurdist political satire (Catch 22 and lots by Kurt Vonnegut), although I tend to orient to something closer to home.

This book has a little of all of this but not enough of anything in particular that could sustain my interest (although, I really did enjoy the humour). Most of all, there is not enough true humanity in it. I find nothing more annoying than characters who are mere vehicles for the "Big Idea" - characters I can't connect with or care about (or even keep track of).

It made me happy to put this book down. It felt like a chore to pick it up again. Life's too short!

Sorry, M&M group: maybe another time!