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!