Saturday, June 16, 2012
Writers I Still Can't Appreciate...
Some writers that I'm still trying... and failing... to appreciate...my apologies in advance... include the following: Vladimir Nabokov (a compelling figure to be sure; people say he's such a great prose stylist and I suppose he is, but so many of his novels seem so inaccessible or off-putting or both; perhaps I should give him another try in another ten years or so); Saul Bellow (tried by could not make my way through Herzog or Henderson the Rain King or The Dean's December or Humboldt's Gift or Seize the Day; Ravelstein was better, but has anyone noticed how practically the only subject in all these works is Saul Bellow himself disguised as various protagonists???); Ernest Hemingway (I'll give him The Sun Also Rises and a few short stories just for the existential attitude, but other than that I can't say that I really enjoy or understand the adulation that accompanies his pedestrian prose style); John Steinbeck (used to like him more, but now I find his narratives rather thin and one-dimensional; Of Mice and Men is great the first time around, but try reading it seven times and see it you don't notice the diminishing returns...The Grapes of Wrath is known as a movie first and a book second; ditto for East of Eden); John Irving (haven't really tried to read him ... might give A Prayer for Owen Meany another try, but he's sort of overtly political sometimes in a way that a good novelist doesn't really need to be); Phillip Roth (could not stand Portnoy's Complaint...how in heck is that book supposed to be funny???... The Plot Against America was an exercise in far-fetched hypotheticals and paranoia...It's usually all about you know you or a character who bears a striking resemblance to who know who and has all of the baggage associated with you know who....So should I try Goodbye, Columbus just to be fair?)... James Fennimore Cooper (don't think I could make it past the first page of one of his novels); Lawrence Sterne (Tristan Shandy sounds great in theory but it's kind of tedious waiting 400 pages for a plot to materialize...)
Posted by T.W.S. at 9:52 AM