Little of this, little of that
Posted March 12, 2007on:
I am mentally exhausted. I made the mistake of re-reading Black Lightning over the weekend for my planned review, wanting to refresh my memory, and it being such a small novel. This reckless act was initially rewarding because many of the themes gained clarity as I picked up on dozens of interrelated clues and connections that I’m sure I missed the first time around. It was when I began to write the review that the different characters, images, lines, scenes, themes and symbols began to thrash around in my brain, wrestling each other for the prize of my keen ( ha ha) focus. I was not confused but I felt as if I should be. I deleted lines and re-arranged sentences, removing whole paragraphs. And they still clamoured for more.
I don’t know why that is. I did not enjoy the book more than Brother Man so why was BL acting like such a brat? I should only be this consumed if I felt near worship for the damn thing. The kicker is that I may have enjoyed all the fuss the book was making. To a certain extent. A very limited extent. (Ok, a great extent.) My brain needs to be soothed.
Luckily, I finished Artemisia, which is anything but a soothing read. What a proud, desperate, ambitious, ruthless character Anna Banti created. I’m more enamoured than ever with the way she chose to write this novel, even if I do not love it. I don’t sigh in loss and pleasure when I think about it but it did not disappear as soon as I read the last page. I already read the translator’s afterword and plan to read Susan Sontag’s introduction–filled with spoilers so my first reading was more of a skim–before I blog about it.
The Open Curtain isn’t a soothing read either. I don’t really know what to make of it. I’m at page 114 and have not been blown away yet. This combined with the fact that my memory of Rudd’s part of the tale, roughly half of the book, is not much more than a haze. My reading of it felt very…random (which is not the word I want). I was not..anchored in anything, had no sure hold on anything that could allow me to get my bearings. I was reading the words but there was a transparent wall. On one side was the very brightly lid, arid landscape on the outskirts of Rudd and Lael’s (his alleged half-brother) towns and Rudd’s words. (Though it’s written in third person it feels like first-person). On the other side was my brain. The only thing that got through was the light and a slightly blurred image of the land. That’s what it felt like, anyway.
I plan to re-read at least part of the beginning. I’m hoping this won’t turn out like my experience with Come Closer by Sara Gran, another blogger favourite. I finished the book with a, “That’s it?” addressed to the open air. Others praised it exuberantly, hinting at the richness of cleverly hidden depths that I was apparently too dense to perceive. Her writing style wasn’t interesting enough to do anything more with it besides use it as door stop. I tried to pawn it off to a used book store once or twice but neither proprietors would take it. I should donate it to the library.
I’ve stuck my lady bug book mark into Jane Eyre so that is next on my plate. I am unsure as to which other novel to start next although I took down Moravagine with particular interest. I don’t know that either counts as soothing, although I find the tone of Eyre’s narrative voice comforting, like meeting an old friend.
And for a certain person, I’d like to inform you that the Brontë will so too count. Nyah.