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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   Djuna Barnes's 'Nightwood' (86 comments)

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  •  Some of the novels that have (12+ / 0-)

    turned out to be most meaningful to me were not books that were quick reads. This goes back to my teen years when I had plowed through Dickens, Collins, the Brontes and some Trollope before finding Thackeray.

    Vanity Fair wasn't at all what I expected. Becky Sharp wasn't a heroine, George did what? and oh, here's Dobbin, but wait a minute ... And the author keeps talking to me like he's George Burns addressing the TV camera.

    That took a couple tries but oh, was it worth it.

    Even one of my best-beloved novels, Gilead, took two tries to run up the hill before I got into the rhythm of its climb.

    Neither of these novels is particularly difficult. They are hardly Finnegans Wake. But they were not what was expected and ended up being so much more because of it.

    •  You were a precocious teenager. I think of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      suka, poco, Limelite, Youffraita
      Dickens, Collins, the Brontes and some Trollope before finding Thackeray
      and Eliot as the big British novelists of the mid-19th century, who finished building the scaffolding of the modern novel. I haven't actually read T or T, but Vanity Fair and The Way We Live Now are on my TBR shelf. I haven't got to Marilynne Robinson either, but she's high among Women Novelists I must read.

      I've read several books so rich that I could enjoy rereading them. Nightwood is the first book I've found, where I think the second reading will be more satisfying than the first. It's an exceptionally murky work. Perhaps Ulysses and Infinite Jest also belong in this class. Finding a tome that demands more than one reading, in a culture which is losing the attention span to read deep novels, feels like unrolling a long papyrus.

      Good to know you've been a bookgirl since childhood.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:42:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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