Friday, August 10, 2012

I Feel Vindicated

That Publisher's Weekly has declared Nightwood by Djuna Barnes the "most difficult book ever written." From the article:
"Nightwood is a novel of ideas, a loose collection of monologues and descriptions. What will keep you going: The cross-dressing Irish-American 'Dr. Matthew-Mighty-grain-of-salt-Dante O'Connor,' who, when not wandering Paris, drinking heavily, or dressing in nighties, rouge, and wigs of cascading golden curls, is expounding great rambling sermons that fill most of the book. These are funny, dirty, absurd, despairing, resigned—even hopeful in a Becketty I-can't-go-on-I'll-go-on kind of way."
I read this book a few years ago and, er.... it had a character who was a "cross-dresser"? Okay, totally missed that part.

In fact, I had little idea what was going on in that novel for probably 90% of it and I finished the book only out of pure stubbornness and an ever-dwindling hope that "it might get better."

Are there books you would put on that list? If you don't like a book, do you stop reading it?

The only book I can remember ever stopping reading because it was so bad is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. In my early 20s I had a brief flirtation, an experiment if you will, with objectivism after reading every single one of Rand's books one summer.

John Galt lost me with that tedious monologue. I mean, seriously, Ayn. Just write a freaking political non-fiction book. Don't try to "sneak it in" by having your political beliefs uttered by your super-heroic protagonists who only ever encounter straw flawed caricatures of their political opponents.

Is Aynsplain a thing? It should be.

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