The Books of My Numberless Dreams

“I read Pamuk to decide whether Turkey should be in the EU.”

Posted on: January 15, 2007

Let me helpfully summarise this essay for you.

I’m an intellectual, I’m smart. You know this because I stress my love for erudite, “literary”, experimental novels that attain unknown heights of the abstruse. Did I mention difficult? I know that they are abstruse because the political and sociological aspects of these novel are always in the background. (Bloody hell, that’s edgy, what?) I have to really stretch my brain muscles to even figure out that it’s there. Once I find it, I sigh in relief, because if my fiction isn’t telling me how the world is today–in a subtle fashion, I’m not bourgeois–then I begin to feel a little helpless and disoriented because what will I talk about with the misses over dinner, or with my intellectual blokes over a pint?

But I’ll tell you what’s happening reader. My news sources are drying up. Fiction isn’t telling me what to think about Al Qaeda! I tried the new Updike and nearly upchucked my brains. I don’t know why the unsubtle “Terrorist” title didn’t warn me that the stupid fecker wouldn’t be discrete about his points. I thought this book would be able to double as my philosophical treatise on Contemporary America and the War on Terror. Oi, despair!

What am I to do? All of the white men of the approved canon who I looked to as father figures and experimental BBC World News anchors (only more distinguished) are either dead or just about there. Now my mental news file on the US is hopelessly out-of-date and I’m running out of controversial, enlightened lines to say at parties. The US has Franzen now but I wouldn’t be caught dead reading a book that doesn’t turn the narrative form over its head; it might as well be a Vogue editorial. (Look at my critical thinking! See it soar!) Publishers clearly disagree as they signed up these two magazine writers.

So, sadly, I must turn to non-fiction for my editorial succour. And Deal or No Deal. (The hot black briefcase girls poignantly remind of the plight of their less fortunate brethren in…various African countries.) Oh and I’ll give a list of all the fiction authors I read and recommend, most if not all of whom have published in the last decade. (Yes, Yes I know this seems contradictory but what you don’t understand is that I’m being experimental and obscure and I question your intellectual credentials if you did not pick up on this immediately.) I also read a bit from the hyped authors in France just to let you know that I did a thorough survey of the state of fiction today and am not completely talking out of my ridiculously ignorant arse.

You writers should see this as a call to arms. Start producing something that can give me a political erection or I’m going to have write this article every year.

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