Friday, August 08, 2008

I've Seen The Movie If That's Any Help....................Pt1

I can honestly say that there is no greater joy in life than when I'm immersed in a damn fine book, be it Kafka, Kinky Friedman or a bit of Enid Blyton. So, quite why I've read less than a hundred novels in my lifetime is maybe a question that will remain unanswered, unless you know me personally, in which case you'll roll your eyes and yell "It's because you're a lazy twat with the attention span of a mayfly!!"
Jim Bliss over at The Quiet Road has a meme for us. It consists of taking the results of the BBC's 'Big Read' poll and marking off what you've read, what you intend to read, what you have no intention of reading and what you utterly despised. Big problem for me is that I've only read about ten of the fuckers, which is slightly less than twice what the poll compilers thought 'The Average Person' would have read. Nonetheless, it's a somewhat embarrassing figure, even for a troglodyte like me. I suppose I could bump it up to 15 if I were to include the books listed that I've started and not finished............................
I shan't re-print the list, it would be too depressing, but what I will do is provide a list of novels that weren't in the list. but ruddy well ought to have been.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess: Nadsat. That's all you need to know. That and some murder, mayhem, fantastic pacing, and two different endings, depending on what side of the Atlantic you lived on. The Brits got the upbeat 'man comes good with age and experience' ending, the Yanks got the 'Humanity is vile' ending. Cool!
The Scene by Clarence Cooper Jr: A gruelling merry-go-round of drug addicts, pimps, whores, cops and low-life's. That sounds like a put down but it's not. Quite the opposite actually. Cooper's writing is the key, grimly vivid, it grabs you by the fucking nuts and doesn't let go, slinging you from character to character without mercy. Some would argue that it's 'mere pulp'. I would argue that they are wankers. If you see it, buy it. At worst, you'll quite enjoy it.
The Castle by Franz Kafka: The logic defying world concocted by Kafka in The Castle will always remain with me. Every time I wake up from a bizarre dream or encounter bureaucratic insanity, the frustrations and trials (no pun intended) of 'K' always seem to come to mind. A lone Land Surveyor arrives in a remote village to find that he's wanted neither at the administrative centre (The Castle) nor in the village itself. He desperately hooks up with a barmaid and ends up as a brow-beaten school caretaker. It matters not, for he will seemingly stop at nothing to gain access to the impenetrable castle. A little tragi-comic relief comes in the shape of his appointed assistants who resemble a sort of retarded Rosencrantz & Guildenstern. Frustratingly, they seem to have more contact with the Castle than he does.
It's as dense as hell and the humour is pitch black.
No more so than at the bottom of the last page............ ;)
Three more tomorrow night.........

9 comments:

Clairwil said...

I've read 23 on the list in full. I always said I was above average. Hurrah!

iLL Man said...

I thought you'd have read more than that. You devour books, but only hit 23 out of a hundred. The list is a bit dull to be honest.

That's still no excuse for me though, I'm still a right fucking peasant sometimes.

dearieme said...

Nil out of three so far. Mind you, I remember the story of the poor soul, New Yorker I think, who taught herself Czech so that she could read Kafka in the original.

iLL Man said...

dm - I think theres a few in my list you'll have read. Teaching yourself Czech is fine, but just to read Kafka? Quite mad, but still soewhat admirable........

Clairwil said...

I do read a lot though it's mainly non-fiction so I was never going to be a high scorer on that list. There is some odd stuff on it though. The Lovely Bones for example is pure bilge.

Jim Bliss said...

I've not read The Scene but couldn't agree more regarding both A Clockwork Orange and The Castle.

in fact, the novel I'm currently working on (well, will get back to working on when I've competed my Masters thesis) contains a quite lengthy homage to The Castle.

So based on those two choices, and your write-up of it, I may well end up checking out The Scene. Thanks for the tip.

dearieme said...

It was a private tragedy, illman - the bleeder wrote in German.

iLL Man said...

I did wonder...........

Couldn't quite remember what language he wrote in and was too lazy to look it up. Of course, having been born into a German speaking family..............

iLL Man said...

Jim - I think you might enjoy The Scene. If you do, his final work, 'The Farm' might also be up your street. It's slower and it's a bit impenetrable in places, but I've enjoyed what I've read of it.