Monday, March 13, 2017

Reading List, Week of 2017-03-13

I'm a little over halfway through rereading Pynchon's mammoth novel Against the Day, and it has been every bit as overwhelming the second time around. This is dense, magical prose, and it's a reading experience where the sentences practically force you to slow down to absorb their special Pynchonian rhythm. For example:
Out in the middle of the glaring night, somewhere disguised in echo and phase-interference, chimes had begun to sound, a harmonic-minor nocturne too desolately precise to be attributable to human timing and muscle-power, more likely one of the clockwork carillons peculiar to this part of Belgium, replacing a live carillonneur, whose art was said to be in decline.... (p. 562)
Now, that's a damn sentence.  I am constantly stunned and enchanted by his writing here, which rivals Gravity's Rainbow in its strange power. Here's some more:
It was said that great tunnels like the Simplon or St.-Gotthard were haunted, that when the train entered and the light of the world, day or night, had to be abandoned for the time of passage however brief, and the mineral roar made conversation impossible, then certain spirits who once had chosen to surrender into the fierce intestinal darkness of the mountain would reappear among the paying passengers, take empty seats, drink negligibly from the engraved glassware in the dining cars, assume themselves into the rising shapes of tobacco smoke, whisper a propaganda of memory and redemption to salesmen, tourists, the resolutely idle, the uncleansably rich, and other practitioners of forgetfulness, who could not sense the visitors with anything like the clarity of fugitives, exiles, mourners, and spies--all those, that is, who had reached agreement, even occasions of intimacy, with Time. (p. 659)

Reading List 2017-03-13:

*Pratt, Hugo. Corto Maltese: A Midwinter Morning's Dream (started)
*Pratt, Hugo. Corto Maltese: Voodoo for the President (started/finished)
*Pratt, Hugo. Corto Maltese: Banana Conga (started/finished)
*Pratt, Hugo. Corto Maltese: The Brazilian Eagle (finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Pynchon, Thomas. Against the Day (reread/in progress)
*Silliman, Ron. The Alphabet (in progress)

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