Books I do read…

… and then there are books that are very difficult to finish. Books about which you wonder, while reading if it is worth while at all. Books that strike you as weak, superfluous, boring, books of which you hardly understand what it’s about or what ‘the fuss’ is about, but that nevertheless carry you forth, page after page. Mark Z. Danielewski Only Revolutions falls into that category. I am reading it, still, sometimes, like 50 pages at a stretch. The text seems to me limited — however ‘beautifully’ the book is made –, limited as a celebration of the United States as the union or the love between both the protagonists, always (all ways) on the run. (Well, this is what the book seems to be — a celebration of “America”, that is at the same point a critique of America — a venerable tradition in American literature). Yet the ending (of both their narratives) has a tone that is reminiscent of the last pages of FW — which is another way of saying they are very very beautiful. Then again the connection between the story and the events in world history (the chronicle in the margin) is not really there — which makes the chronicle like a trick only. And I was very disappointed to see that Danielewski decided to not imagine what will happen in the future…

So, what is this book by Danielewski… Is it an example of what literature can be now (and in the future), or is it a mistake and a failure… a good one, for sure, but still a mistake & failure. (Adding here that I think FW is not a mistake and failure, nor is Infinite Jest, but that for instance the later novels of Arno Schmidt may be seen as mistakes & failures).

I’d love to read a good essay on this….

en,reading matter | November 21, 2006 | 13:44 | Comments Off on Books I do read… |


RSS for comments on this post.

sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. | Arie Altena