Unfeasibly Comprehensive Negativity Thread
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I've just been reading Don DeLillo's "Underworld" and am struck by how right B. R. Myers was when he wrote in his "Reader's Manifesto" a few years back that "a young reader's foray into literature shouldn't have to end - for want of better advice - on the third page of something like (this book)".
I really did have to stop on page 3, when I got to this:
"He picks up speed and seems to lose his gangliness, the slouchy funk of hormones and unbelonging and all the stammering things that seal his adolescence. He is just a running boy, but the way running reveals some clue to being, the way a runner bares himself to consciousness, this is how the bloodrush of a dozen strides brings him into eloquence;"
It seems to me that this could almost have been written DELIBERATELY to bear out all Myers's damning criticisms of contemporary 'literary prose" and the way it just tries TOO DAMN HARD to sound "writerly" and full of unique poetic insights that only a "writer" could have.
The first part does that by just jumbling a lot of fairly routine and predictable descriptive terms into an odd sequence and combination that strikes the (inattentive) reader as somehow "insightful".
"The slouchy funk of hormones and unbelonging and all the stammering things that seal his adolescence":
Untwist all the strained poetic crinks and kinks that DeLillo has put in that and all you have is the dull, obvious:
"He was a teenager, so he was troubled by his hormones, had a tendency to slouch, stammered, and felt he didn't belong."
As to the second part about the "runner baring himself to consciousness" I just have NO idea what the fuck THAT is supposed to mean AT ALL. It is an image that has about as much resonance with me as would the image of "the guy using the Coca-Cola dispenser baring himself to consciousness". Maybe I don't know running - or maybe it's just some "literary prose" virtuoso screeching "Look at me! Look at me!"
Comments or contradictions?