Friday, 26 June 2009

Bettongia penicillata

Sorry, I overslept.

Yesterday I got nine books from the library, florid with the hope of finishing them all within the alloted three weeks, and with the effort of carrying them home.

I read two of the smaller books first: "Eddie Krumble is The Clapper" by Dito Montiel, and "How We are Hungry" by Dave Eggers. You will note, either now or after your Google search, that these are both modern American literature of the recently-fashionable and even-more-recently unfashionable Probably Has A Name But I Don't Know It school. I like reading American literature because it underscores how very wrong I've got the United States.

Until I was about 20, I thought I knew the USA well. I had a diet of largely American television as a child, which allowed me learn my state capitals, and American math primers ("math" "primers" indeed) which taught me to subtract a liter from a quart gallon in over-large san-serif fonts. But then I visited the US, and realised not all accents made it onto TV, and people also tended not to live upstairs from friendly Muppets.

"Eddie Krumble is The Clapper" is an awful, terrible novel requiring of the reader
- about 75 to 90 minutes

It also begins with a "my life was nothing special until six months ago" moment before plunging back to the story proper. When the story ends with the "well, that sure wrapped up nicely" moment (six months later, remember?) he is somehow married to the girl and they have several children.

"How We are Hungry" was an improvement, but featured many, many stories in which Americans travel to non-Western countries and sweat wealth-guilt before having a moment of self-realisation in the final sentence which ends in some vocalised heart-in-mouth emotional expression like running through a goddamn stream in the wind! I quite liked this, actually. Especially the section where a dog translates a squirrel (critiquing the dogs' acrobatic endeavours) for the benefit of his human readers:

"the squirrels say other things, their eyes full of glee. "It makes me laugh that she did not make it across the gap." "I am very happy that he fell and seems to be in pain."

Unfortunately Eggers also wants us to believe a middle-aged Australian character would disparage a group with the term "minor-leaguers". I'll let this slide as the Australian was talking to an American, and because it ties into my next post.

I'm presently eighteen pages into the third book, "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace, which is probably going to take the full three weeks.

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