Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Transubstantiate -- right around the corner.

Transubstantiate, the neo-noir debut from Richard Thomas, is almost here. Two days. My copy's ordered; is yours? Visit his blog, What Does Not Kill Me, or the Transubstantiate home page for all the juicy details. More to come!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jose Saramago.

Farewell to the great Jose Saramago, who has passed away. "Blindness" is by far one of my favorite books, and a great example of uncompromising style. The same way "A Clockwork Orange" conditions you to learn a new language, "Blindness" conditions you to read in a new way-- your trusted senses are discarded as you encounter blocks of unattributed text, text without punctuation, etc. All signposts have been removed, yet you still find your way. Eventually, you come to trust your instincts. It is an amazing experience.

It's tough to lose someone you admire. These people become like family members in a way. It can be tough to take, but we are lucky enough to have their body of work to treasure, and to pass on to future generations. Incomplete as it always seems to feel.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Road.

About a hundred pages in to Cormac's "The Road." I have been warned there is no light at the end of this drab tunnel. Though I wonder. My idea of redemption is that it is so miniscule, dirt-smeared and fragile that I may well find it where it does not exist, whenever I choose to find it. This is the "buried gun" approach to redemption: when you feel the misery is endless and you can't persist, just find the spot where you buried your salvation, and be saved. (Is salvation, then, a gun? Is salvation suicide? Oh, bleak world. There are already rumblings of suicide in the text. It's out there unseen, like the strange, far-off concussions the man and woman heard in the night. The notion of release from torment.)

It doesn't concern me either way, though, as I find there is something uplifting about misery that dares to be interminable. It allows you to be the author of your own philosophy, as opposed to being fed someone else's. That's what I've always enjoyed about McCarthy-- he doesn't force feed you anything. He gives you not necessarily the world as it is, but a brutal magnification that tests you. The idea of being tested-- being given a task-- is perhaps hinted at in the book's title-- the idea of being unmoored, and set on your way to discover if you're made of anything, or if you're destined to be nothing but a pile ash.