Monthly Archives: September 2010

Seven Summations of Seven Novels

La Condition humaine

Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union

A chess piece placed, Alaskan white;
a Murder made in grid-black night.

Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

You are in a small white room in which there is a bed, a toilet, and a sink.
Fill the sink.
Take out one eye, place it in the water, drain.
Don’t you feel better now?

William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom

A moth drags himself bodily through the lounging air. In the mellow aged light the dust the people flake is about him, convocations of dust blending as though wishing to reconstitute the human shape of the past, which is impossible especially here, in the New World.

Tom McCarthy, C

“…so obviously contrived, so patently artificial, it challenges all credulity…”

“…and in so doing, throws open the closed circuit, trips it magnificently. The useless charge runs into nothing. The novel itself abrogated.”

“Yes… only it left a small resonance like tinnitus or the far clash of cymbals bouncing in the inner chambers of my ear…

SSSSSSSssss. Ssss. sss

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

My dear Daisy,
Just to say:
I’ve gone sailing, sailing
waters green under tidal night.
I want you to know I never
cared at all.

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The two armies advanced and with hard eyes and iron souls they considered one another. There was an implacable logic to the situation: they found themselves opposite each other and so they marched to fight. The wind tore in their streamers day and night, and the sun flew its course. They met across a river. Until this point each man had considered the other side the enemy. Now they saw only that the river was full and did not wish to cross it. The wind died. The day was maddeningly full of clouds. The world seemed too light to hold itself upright, as if some underpinning had collapsed, a crucial crosspiece removed. Nevertheless they fought, and the sun flew its usual course, and the wind tore in the streamers.

D. H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers

Abroad the swelling hills, the swollen sky, small-flecked with golden light he turned to the distance and said No. He said, I renounce the grim chimneys and crooked spires of your city, I shall run in orchards and I shall shake the cherry tree and burst her red cherries underfoot, and thus fallen and thus smashed I will know where next to go.