Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Readings

What was I thinking?! picking up Autumn of the Patriarch for a tired journey beginning on a Thursday midnight! No, I have not traveled through even 100 pages of it yet, despite having traveled many miles on either side of the equator in a crammed plane seat. It is not a travel companion, but a book to be read when you are in one of your 'streams of consciousness'. Now that I am more awake, I am enjoying it much more.

As I am home for a week, have picked up Sebald's Emigrants where I had left it. Somewhere in the midst of a melancholic tale. It is deeply touching and haunting, as Sebald's writing always is.

My Mumbai break is well-timed, with Landmark just beginning its annual sale - picked up a decent lot - Llosa's War of the end of the world (which got a repeated mention in the comments on my post on Death in the Andes here) and Coetzee's Inner Workings being the highlight purchases. Now all I have to do is read them.

6 comments:

Alok said...

Coetzee's book contains some good essays on writers you have talked about on the blog - sebald, svevo, Roth (Joseph and Philph both) and others. Most of these essays are quite informative and occasionally insightful even when you may not agree. For example while he praises radetzky march he points out his conservatism both in his politics and in his style.

I remember those long sentences from Autumn of the Patriarch very well, even though i have forgotten the details of the narrative. In one single sentence you can travel through time and space, spanning multiple different perspectives, with details piling up one after another. It is really wonderful...My advice is not to try to understand 100% the first time and just go on reading at a normal or may be bit slow speed. You can then come back to it later.

Madhuri said...

I read Coetzee's essays on Svevo and Marquez, and they were both insightful and informative essays. Though Coetzee's tone is a little instructive (which I think is true also of his fiction), the collection is promising. It discusses some of my 'favored' books - The Pickup for in stance.
Thanks for the tips on Autumn of the patriarch. Unpunctuated long sentences are the main problem with the book, but as I read it slowly in the comfort of the house, I am able to better appreciate it.

runawaysun said...

It is rumoured that 'Autumn of the Patriarch' is inspired by Fidel Castro's life. Apparently Castro and Garcia Marquez are friends.

Alok said...

yes I agree about the tone being "instructive". You begin to feel as if you are attending one of his lectures! he is also very impersonal and cold. I don't like the I-Me-Myself routine that bedevils so much of non-fiction of any genre but he is on the other extreme. this may also interest you. we had some fun in the comment section on the nobel laureate's expense! he can be hilariously pedantic at times.

abuot Castro he certainly could have got some personal details from him but I doubt if Castro ever thought of selling the Ocean as the dictator in his book does!! :)

Madhuri said...

Runawaysun, I had read that too somewhere - and Marquez may have picked up the idea of writing a novel on 'leadership' from his friend Castro. But eventually I think he picked up elements of a lot of dictators. It is a good commentary on dictators, as it is on people who are dictated.

Alok - that thread was fun. BTW - I like Amelie because it is sentimental and shallow! Wonder why that would make you hate a movie :)

Alok said...

hehe.. that's perfectly fine then, the problem is when people start telling you the profound life lessons they learned from the film. I dislike something like forrest gump for the same reason too. They are not badly made at all but I find something dishonest and duplicitous in them. Though I must say I have become less judgemental over time. One can find something genuinely meaningful and stirring even in something that other people think are trash, like those corny motivational books which teach you the value of positive-thinking. Everything is fine I guess, to each his own ;)