Tuesday, May 17, 2005

See Under: Love - part II (finished)

Part I review
Part II partial review

Finished part II and this will sound repetitious. A shame that Grossman didn't find a good editor to tell him to cut out his ramblings (75% of what he writes) and he'd have a fine novella. A few good sections with his wife & child and the scars left by the Holocaust on the children of the survivors, but the extended fantasy sequence of Bruno as a fish added little. No wonder the playwrights completely ignored the entire first 180 pages of the novel.

Part III will finally contain portions of the play, so look forward to reading it. Part IV appears to be an extended outline of the story-within-a-story, but also appears to be very non-readable, so not sure if I'll force myself to slog through that section.

Perhaps there's a moral to the story. Could not force myself through The Man Without Qualities or Proust or The Good Soldier Svejk or Tristram Shandy or Stendhal or War and Peace and perhaps they're not worth the effort of trying to read. Either the novels are over rated or they're not my style or they have nothing new to teach me or they just weren't made for the modern reader. Overall I've found classics to be a mixed bag: some superb (antigone, hamlet, anna karenina); some spotty (Canterbury tales & Decameron); some good but over rated (Huck Finn), and others are clearly interesting only as cultural anthropology (Gargantua and Pantagruel).

Final note: see now on Amazon from a reader that "Young Torless" and the short stories "Three Women" are recommended instead of A man without qualities - what a great resource. Will give these recommendations an attempt.

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