…but that isn’t true.
I recently finished Tropic of Cancer, but it definitely deserves it’s on post, so I’ll write about it later this week. Get ready…
I haven’t talked much about ‘books on tape’ but due to a 30 minute commute to work twice a day, they really help the ride go by. There are two I’ve listened to recently.
First, Middlemarch by George Eliot. I appreciate a good character as well as anyone, but seriously? Middlemarch is nothing but characters. No plot. Not even great descriptions of setting as the Bronte’s provide. Middlemarch is like turning Spoon River Anthology into a novel, but the characters aren’t even half as interesting. In defense of Eliot’s classic, I was listening to a Librivox recording, where the reader changes every five chapters or so, and about half of them sound like their recording is doubling for an assignment for their ESOL class. So, that didn’t help the cause. But, after 50 or so chapters of a 90+ chapter work, I had had enough & had to end the pain.
Currently I’m one CD away from finishing A Confederacy of Dunces, a novel set in New Orleans around the eccentric Ignatius J. Reilly. Walker Percy provides the intro to this posthumously published novel by John Kennedy Toole, an obvious compliment to the work.
I must admit that shortly in I wasn’t sure I’d be able to endure this piece – as a main part of the developing character included all his bodily emissions. Base humor only goes so far. However, once the fully developed Mr. Reilly emerges, I found myself laughing out loud at witty dialogue and hysterical circumstance. I’ll be sad to bid farewell to Toole’s remarkable creation.
As far as what I’m reading, I’m about a third of the way into One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. The subject of this novel is what originally attracted me. Based on the (true) suggestion of Cheyenne Indians to the US government that 1000 women be given as wives to their young men in order to assimilate and blend the cultures thereby creating peace between them, this novel takes the form of the (fictitious) journals of May Dodd, a young girl who had inappropriately been committed to a mental hospital but was released to be a part of this program.
So far this one is just OK. Her writings are not just journals, but also letters never sent but written to various people from her past – including her sister and the father of her two children in the east. While I guess there is an element of “what would you reveal to your sister that you wouldn’t a previous lover?” this detracts from the format, and so far I feel Fergus would have been better served to have stuck to journals.
And, I guess when I picked this up, I was expecting something as powerful as Follow the River. So far, not so. I’ll keep you posted.
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