Saturday, June 16, 2012

An ambitious laziness

I finished 1Q84!

Early on, in the first pages of this book, perhaps even when I started to think about reading the book, I remember reading a brief bio about how the author was a marathon runner. He had even written a book on the subject. The bio also mentioned his belief in a daily regiment of writing, exercise, and reading. This fact struck me as I began to work my way through the large tome that is 1Q84. It is a lot like running--the repetitive rhythms broken up burst of action, followed by long, slow stretches where all you can do is put one foot in front of the other, praying for the finish line coming into view.

Another thread that floats through 1Q84 is that of music. I recall, perhaps it was just a dream, the author menitioning in an interview that the book's inspiration was a piece of music. An orchestra piece by the polish composer janacek call the sinfetta. I listened to the piece and wonder if perhaps the novel was writing music through plot and language. A sort of narrative representation of what music as a story/slice of life. This paradigm explains the repetition and the cycles of words, plots and places that thread through the novel like a melody or harmony. Phrases acting like chords and dialogue as chapters acting as movements. Both metaphors elude to the surreal which is entwined with stunning normality(as an aside, I'm not sure how one can write about the surreal without a boring reality to contain it).

despite this thinking sparked by the book, I don't think I can recommend it. There's a sense of laziness in the book. The unnecessary passages of Dickens without the clever wit of Dickens. Long chapters that build nothing and are not entertaining enough to warrant their inclusion. This was beyond killing one's darlings but a question of editing. The word "like" was used everywhere to give a forced metaphor or simile. The characters felt unloved and inconsistent in composition.

I am hesitant to get into specifics, as any reveal of the plot will take away interest in the book, but I will say that it's resolution left much to be desired.

to be honest, I have a sense that my biggest walk away is that I know the truth of the book. I will not be tricked in dinner conversation when someone talks excitedly about the book. I will know they have only read the reviews and have not wrestled with the book. Even a poor book challenges the mind, it was unfortunate that this particular one had to be so long.

One final thought. Having finished the book, I found myself sitting and thinking about re-writing the book, to make it tighter and stronger. Invoke the character Tengo work in the novel to re-write the story of Fuki-erai. As though the novel's central question is "how can a story be told better?". I don't believe this was the author's intent.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

sitting on a deck

It a rare moment of calm, I find myself sitting on my brother-in-law's backyard. The weather is just right. I'm full from an excellent meal. Settling down after a fun day outdoors at Bronte creek. An evening calling me to relax.

The kind of moment you blog about so you don't forget in later more hectic times. Sorry to be completely self serving.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The bird and the cat

The past week has seem to involve discussions about animals. The main agent of these ecological seminars is my three tear old daughter. She is working through the behaviors of animals, which ones eat plants, which ones eat garbage, and which ones eat other animals.

In other, older, circles, the theme of animals have come up as well. At my work there has been a lot of discussions of peregrine falcons who inhabit the building across the way. I was able to attend part of the tagging ceremony and was impressed with the dedication of the volunteers working to recover a species. They even have a webcam.

I say this as someone who isn't really a birder and when considering our feathered friends, I prefer water fowl.

The other animals this week is my friend Becky starting to explore the video features of her camera. She made cats the focus of her experiments. See results below.People getting excited about cats. What's not to like.


Finally, I have been delving into web series with pa tv and geek and sundry. Felicia Day's the flog is a new thing for me and in the first episode I watched she had a link to baby animals in her favorite five things of the week.

Leaves me wondering what next week's theme will be.