Monday, October 13, 2008

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. On reflection this has to be one of the more misogynist books I've read. Not a female in it that isn't a castrating fiend, hellish domineering (castrating) mother, or a whore. The whores of course are the good guys. Never read a book before where the redemptive act by the hero was sexual assault of the villain. Putting that criticism aside, it was a good story with vivid characters. Bromden's voice was compelling, and I liked the image of the combine as the oppressive homogenizing forces in society working together. Haven't seen the movie, but by percolation I had an idea what to expect, so perhaps the suspense was a little spoiled. Anyway, I actually thought the ending would be sadder than it was.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Neil Gaiman, Stardust

Neil Gaiman, Stardust. I've been reading this aloud to Matthew (with minor editing) but I peeked ahead. This was a darling story, the village of Wall and Faerie and the lands beyond were wonderful and the journey through was delightful. I especially enjoyed the asides and minor stories in Faerie (where all the lands that have been eliminated from maps have gone). The story had such a traditional feel that at times one could imagine it was a George MacDonald story while the next moment it read like a comic book. I loved the movie, and for once I didn't think that the book far outshone the adaptation, but it was still worth the read. There is definitely room for more stories from Wall.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Philip Roth, Portnoy's Complaint

Philip Roth, Portnoy's Complaint. The plaintive voice of Alexander Portnoy is familiar and droning and his complaint is an endless (although entertaining) circle. It's funny, very funny. It's also filthy almost unbearably, filthy to the point of wallowing. In fact, it's probably one of the most offensive books ever written (if taken seriously). Makes me glad Freud and psychoanalysis are pretty well out of fashion. I think I like later Roth better - frailty and decay of the body is a more interesting obsession than masturbation.