Prufrock's Page

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Linkin' Park

* Can't make it to Frankfurt? Take comfort in the World eBook Fair, to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Project Gutenberg.

* Indian Writing links to a DNA article on how "women use their wiles to get ahead", in which the writer says that Prahlad Kakkar, after making a comment, "chortles with a sneer". One has been trying to perform the same fascinating feat all morning. Without success, alas.

* In the wake of James Frey, Benjamin Kunkel -- author of Indecision and editor of n+1 -- remembers Thoreau's Walden, and offers advice to would-be memoirists: "By all means, talk about who abused you, and what you abused — that doesn't embarrass anyone. Or describe the glory that was lost. But keep in mind that were you to discover how it might be possible, in this country, to live a life at once just, proud and happy, admitting it would only embarrass everyone."

* "[A] married heroine who has ruined her life by falling passionately in love with a man who is not her husband." That's the plot at the heart of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter -- something that The Concord Monitor's Hillary Nelson uses to talk about the brain chemistry of the hopelessly infatuated. Damn bourgeois illusions, as Dale Peck would have said. (Perhaps chortling with a sneer.)

* One would think one had learnt to stay away from black holes and other impenetrable areas,'s Calcutta chronicler Geoffrey Moorhouse's review of Jann Daley's The Black Hole, in which he agrees with Hilary Spurling: "This whole period of Indian and British history has been written about so often, with three books on the Black Hole alone since 1965, that yet another one can only be justified if the author has an original interpretation and a distinctive tone of voice."

* One found Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover too polemical to be successful as a novel, but Doris Lessing revisits it and, though acknowledging the "urgent preaching" and other "absurdities", asserts that it's "one of the most powerful anti-war novels ever written."

* "It was when Vikram Chandra...found himself sitting across the table from a hitman high on drugs that he knew he had pushed research for his latest book just a little too far." Ooh, don't you just love those author-as-hero-profiles? Nevertheless, worth reading. (Link courtesy the hard-working and always-interesting Literary Saloon.)

* One shall know no peace until one lays one's hands on What It Used To Be Like, a memoir on life with Raymond Carver by Maryann Burk Carver, his first wife. Jonathan Yardley calls it "strange but strangely engaging....At times, there's a perky, gee-whiz tone to her prose that is ill-suited to what is a cautionary tale if not a downright sad one....Yet her book is redeemed by a number of qualities: her bruised but unflagging love and admiration for Carver, her loyalty to him and their two children, and her refusal to succumb to the temptation to play the role of woman scorned.... An instructive reminder that writers are rarely as nice, or as decent or as likeable as the characters whom they bring to life. "


Post a Comment

<< Home