In Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, the childlike and excitable protagonist Prince Myshkin is told by his sweetheart that the worst thing he could do at an upcoming party is to break an expensive Chinese vase. Myshkin becomes consumed by the thought that he must not break it, and makes a point of sitting as far away from the vase as possible. But “an ineradicable conviction had taken possession of his mind that, however he might try to avoid this vase, he must certainly break it.” And of course, he does—upsetting the vase near the end of the party with one of his wild gestures.
At my gate, and the guy across from me is two hundred pages into ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ while the guy next to him is geeking out about how it’s gonna ‘CHANGE YOUR LIFE, and shit!’
And they’re both in their thirties, so there’s no excuse for that.
It’s like seeing an aging bald guy carrying around ‘Catcher In The Rye,’ you know? I’m all, ‘buddy, go buy some Updike, or something.’
And I don’t even LIKE Updike. I start ‘Rabbit Run’ twice a year like Liz Lemon takes up knitting.
Me, I brought two Vanity Fairs, Men’s Journal (fuck you, Kyle Chandler’s on the cover), the new Matt Scudder, and Mona Simpson’s ‘Anywhere But Here.’
And the Kindle.
Probably something from Chuck Palahniuk’s Stranger Than Fiction, which shows just how little creative non-fiction I’ve read. His essay about Ira Levin was memorable. So was the chapter about castle-building.
Or Bret Easton Ellis’ Lunar Park if we can agree it is mostly memoir.
andrewgraham replied to your post:kayfabe replied to your link:6 Badass Movie Scenes…I think Fight Club is a romantic novel, with the anti-authoritarianism/anti-consumerism being the subtext to one character involved in a love triangle.
I think Marla was used primarily as a plot device through which Brad Pitt Tyler Durden could be exposed. Typically the woman was used as a way for the man to come to terms with himself. I don’t think the ‘relationship’ component with her was strong enough to consitiute a central theme. I certainly don’t see the book being built around it. Though my thesis is that the book isn’t built around anything and that’s why it rapidly falls apart once you begin to really analyze it.
If there was a romantic relationship happening that was strong enough to center the book around, it was the narcissistic relationship of Tyler to himself.
And this is my problem with it, is that there are like, 8 major themes in there that he dips his toe in and then backs out of and moves on. That’s why I think it’s a really really poorly written book. It lacks any thematic cohesion or consistency. It’s amateurish. It’s like he got himself into a position to propose some really interesting questions but then just jerks us out of it because on a fundamental level he doesn’t have the discipline or heart to follow through, and just turns the car and takes us somewhere else again. It’s extremely superficial that way, which is ironic. It is like a product of itself.
Again, I would like to think that was on purpose, because that would be brilliant, but the reality is it’s just a crappy book. In my opinion.
Let’s all stop working and talk about books for the rest of the afternoon.