2006-07-17 10:52 pm (UTC)
Did you read Christopher Hitchens' review of it?
Watch out that you don't fall asleep on the toilet.
You could just write about his stiffened nether member.
I'm sure it's wilted by now.
I've never finished anything by John Updike. I'm sure you're a few up on me in that regard.
Jesus, I wish John Cheever had eaten him and survived.
Yeah, well. Whatever abilty Updike once had to breath life into exposition via the telling detail is now lost. Instead, we're treated to a casting call for a Trapper Keeper commercial:
"Other Central High students are crowding around, there in the hall, the cheerleader types and the computer nerds, the Rastas and Goths, the wallflowers and the do-nothings, waiting for something interesting to happen."
Updike likes "Goths":
"Ahmad's astonished, gulping expression makes the watching schoolmates laugh, including the chalk-faced Goths, minority whites at Central who pride themselves on showing no emotion, like thier nihilistic punk-rock heroes."
He's on no firmer ground when trying to plumb the depths (or is it the shallows?) of a middle-aged Jewish guidance counselor a dozen pages later.
He's an old man who hit his height in the sixties and hasn't got much more in him but to try to repeat that. I wouldn't even try to get through his impression of high school today. I'm sorry you have to review it.
Are there still actual Goths in high school, BTW, or are they all on LJ talking about how much high school sucked for them? I wouldn't know.
In a semi-urban NJ high school, if the one I loved across from for a couple of years is any guide, there certainly aren't enough Goths in any HS to have more than one per hallway at any given time.
Oh, and the fight between the mean guy (big, black, football player) and the Muslim kid (who constantly thinks everyone is a devil) was only a little shoving because the bell was about to ring and nobody wanted to be late for class.
How Peyton Place, except the Muslim kid isn't gay.
Well, he does later revel in his dun-colored skin, by way of worrying that the bully, named Tylenol Jones, may bruise it though it is opposed to the will of Allah to have too much pride in one's appearance.
"named Tylenol Jones"
Yeah, I saw that when I went and looked at the book at Amazon. Ha-hahahahaha! Niggers give their kids such stupid names!
The one you loved across? Um, Nick, is there some registry you're on that you're not telling us about?
Re: Updike. I read his short story "The A&P" several years ago and liked it, but his novels are just...I don't give a shit about male midlife crisis. I'm sorry, but I just don't.
Lived...but I did do some loving while there.
As long as the loving wasn't with the high school kids.
Unless they were totally hot, of course.
Updike wrote the introduction to the collection of Kafka stories I have in my library. I just noticed this weekend. I have no idea why the publishers thought he would be the natural choice for that.
Seriously, if you are that out of touch with The Kids, why not go with timeless categories:
3. Drama club members
But what about glee club members and their well-pressed blouses and skirts? Those tedious slide rule-toting grinds? The greasers and their hot rods and surnames that end in vowels? Or the returning college heroes with their straw hats, giant muskrat coats, and ever-present ukeleles? GO STATE!
You've forgotten the Catholic/Jewish girls who play virgin whilst hiding their sexies under their dreidels.
Even better, why not write about something else, or nothing at all? Rabbit's Grandson Goes To Pakistan is just plain silly
I still get occasional fan mail from teenagers who put bat stickers on the envelopes, dead rose petals inside, portraits of Nothing done in pastel crayons that rub off on my fingers, etc. I can't swear that they are Goths because they rarely send me pictures of themselves, but their letters sure do convincing Goth drag.
They all want to be writers, and they're generally very sweet. Some of them even hasten to reassure me that they like my new books too (I love the "too").
You got my letter!
You should just turn this journal post in as your review.
Horrors! Spex pays by the word.
6. Wannabes to the journalism club who'd join if they knew that they'd be given unfettered control over their own content, and that they'd gain more coolness points by joining than by telling everyone "I'd write for the paper, but then the principal would have to expel me." Strangely, these are the ones who jump with the most glee when they get invitations to their class reunions, if only because they couldn't get invited to shovel viscera in a slaughterhouse under any other circumstances.
I understand: I had the same exact problem with Harry Harrison's last West of Eden book. Of course, I had a choice in that I could either suffer a burst bladder from trying to avoid the book, or I'd die of an aneurysm from repeated and uncontrollable screaming from bucking up and finishing the damn thing. Of course, since it didn't kill me, it made me stronger: compared to that series, I could watch a marathon of The Starlost with little to no pain, because I didn't have enough brain tissue left to register that pain.
When you're wishing for a tract infection, diabetes, or an enlarged prostate to give you the impetus to finish a book, then it must be really fucking boring.
Even with the heat, I can walk down to the libes in the time I'd be standing in the sun to wait for the Moover.
Plus with all the other, better, books in the library are too tempting (as are, indeed, the books in my living room).
It tends to run a bit late. And sometimes early. The Bee Line does anyway, not the Moover.
At any rate, I masochistically walked all the way to Greek Priest Pizza this morning for lunch, and back :). It was fine, thanks to the hankies to dab the sweat from my eyes.
I'm not surprised to hear this response to Updike's (ahem) thriller.
I had the (mis)fortune to see an interview with JU on Good Morning America (or a similar show) about a month ago, where he was trying to generate some buzz for this book. Alas, he presented himself as an 'author of literature' codescending to write a book in the thriller genre. When asked if he would tackle the thriller again, he replied that he was not interested in ever writing another example of 'formulaic genre fiction.' Why write formulaic fiction in the first place (genre or otherwise)?
Thank you for affirming my suspicions that this book turned out to be drivel.
Disappointing book. He never convincingly explains how a young man raised by an Irish-American mother with scant access to the Muslim community during his early formative years becomes so zealous and anti-American. It's like his mother had no influence on him whatsoever.
Plus the short thread connecting the guidance counsellor and the Department of Homeland Ministry, providing him with a moment-by-moment update on the security level, seemed a tad convenient.
Yes, the kid is entirely unrealistic. From his affected dialogue ("decamp", then an explanation of him reading Henry Miller), to his attending the church after the altercation with Tylenol, he makes little sense. And I'm only in the first hundred pages!
Of course, almost all the other characters are as nonsensical as well.