Gibblers

Friday, November 30, 2007

Note to Novelists: Learn How to Fucking Write!

The rant du jour is prolly only relevant to book enthusiasts...or just to novel-readers. Here's the thing: if yer gonna write some bigass fucking book, is it too much to ask to move the damn plot along every once in a while? Yeah, I'm talking to you Tolstoy. Anna Karenina is judged by some to be the best novel ever? Oh, right: yer talking about on Htrae, the Bizarro world, where the what is "best" would be considered the worst by people on our planet...unless our notions of "best" have been updated to include that which is mind-numbingly dull. The same can be said for Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. I didn't read far enough to figure out what the title meant, so I must assume that the "mystery" concerns an inquiry into how anyone ever made it to the end of that snoozer.

Oh, I know what the problem is: I'm just trying to read pseudo-intellectual wank-job lit. Surely if I read some genre lit., like Robert Jordon's Wheel of Time series, the pace will pick up and some actual plot might manifest itself. Well, I can't judge the whole series, but Book 1, The Eye of the World, matches J.R.R. Tolkien's crap in its complete mastery of tedium. It's weird to read fantasy novelists who simulate real life so well: you trudge through day after boring day (or page after boring page), stupidly always expecting something to happen...and only once in a great while does the "something" arrive, and by then you're barely awake enough to care.

So, the thing to do is just stick with novelists who understand that the whole idea of narrative means that there has to be people moving through time, doing things, saying interesting things. You know...novelists like Richard Russo. Shit HAPPENED in novels like Straight Man and Empire Falls. But, oh Lord...I guess I should have realized that we were going to take a detour into a Slumberland Home Furniture store and never wake up when I saw the title to Russo's latest: Bridge of Sighs. If a writer doesn't care enough to wonder whether anyone will get excited about a weakass title like that, you gotta figure he won't give a shit if we care that nothing ever happens in the novel. I went through an entire CD, and by the end of it exactly one thing had happened in the present: the character mentioned that he and his wife were thinking about going on a vacation. Wow...you mean if I hang on for two or three more hundred pages, the characters might transition from thinking about going on a vacation to actually fucking going on a vacation? Now that's a hook!

That's why I'm sticking with crime novels from now on. At least you can be sure of this much plot in every crime novel: someone committed a crime, and someone's gonna solve it.

It would prolly take Robert Jordan four books to tell that story...

2 Comments:

Blogger shundela said...

Anna Karenina is the best book I've ever read. I wish I could read Russian. It's probably better in Russian. I know a Russian I'd like to check out in any language. Don't know where that came from.

1:41 PM  
Blogger TXB said...

Yeah, I thought you said once that it wuz a fave of yers. I guess I'm just not into stories where a lot of the "action" takes place inside the characters' heads. If yer into that, you might dig the Eco book...which I have on CDs, if you want it.

7:08 PM  

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