Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: Fiction  (Read 25356 times)
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madupont
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« Reply #1380 on: February 23, 2008, 05:17:38 PM »

rmdig,#1380

"I was being facetious in order to make a point."

and, I rather figured you were.  I just wanted to clarify what these writers more usually wrote about because of exactly who they were.
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rmdig
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« Reply #1381 on: February 24, 2008, 11:21:17 AM »

Reading Nemirovsky's David Golder reminds me of Francois Mauriac's Knot of Vipers, which it predates by two years.  Both Golder and Mauriac's narrator are sixty-eight years old; both are wealthy, thoroughgoing misanthropes.  What Mauriac's narrator says about his family members and others is just as scathing and intemperate as Golder's comments regarding the people in his life.  The only real difference is that most of the people in Golder's life are Jews.

I'm not sure I understand you when you say, "I just wanted to clarify what these writers more usually wrote about because of exactly who they were."

In the case of Zola, my point was that there are very few characters in his fiction who escape his unmerciless gaze.  I'm struggling to think of even one admirable character.  But his take on humanity -- bleak as it is -- isn't typically turned against him, as some seem to want to do with Nemirovsky.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 12:34:05 PM by rmdig » Logged
madupont
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« Reply #1382 on: February 24, 2008, 11:21:01 PM »

rmdig,re:#1383

Francois Mauriac vs. Nemirovsky's "Golder":

"The only real difference is that most of the people in Golder's life are Jews.

I'm not sure I understand you when you say, "I just wanted to clarify what these writers more usually wrote about because of exactly who they were." quote, rmdig



" He encouraged Elie Wiesel to write about his experiences as a Jew during the Holocaust."
http://www.biographybase.com/biography/Mauriac_Francois.html

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9051501/Francois-Mauriac

There is so much here in the positive column of his contribution to humanity that I leave it for you to review.

Nemirovsky's,"Golder" is a character. His author was obviously a good earner in the category of money-maker for the years in which she wrote.

Francois Mauriac was a humanist.

"There is no accident in our choice of reading. All our sources are related." (from Mémoires Intérieures, 1959)

http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/mauriac.htm


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rmdig
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« Reply #1383 on: February 25, 2008, 06:24:05 AM »

I think highly of Mauriac. 
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martinbeck3
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« Reply #1384 on: February 26, 2008, 03:34:59 PM »

Well! Just think of it! I have just received "Suite Française" and "Chaleur du sang" yesterday.The first one in its 12th.Spanish edition (Alfaguara).apparently I will be soon in the embrace of an anti-semitic writer who will forever burn in hell.How can Frankin be so sidiculously anacronic.I,in turn ,think that Ulysses is a drunkard,machista pig.   
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rmdig
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« Reply #1385 on: February 26, 2008, 07:52:22 PM »

martinbeck --

I feel sure you'll be able to survive Nemirovsky's "anti-semitism."
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martinbeck3
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« Reply #1386 on: March 02, 2008, 05:14:21 PM »

Nemirovsky has been attacked in Argentina too for her anti-semistism.Crazy.I think it would be better that I cover the books with brown paper.
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Lhoffman
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« Reply #1387 on: March 03, 2008, 03:32:58 PM »

So, is anyone reading anything of interest?  I just read a short story by Calvino, La formica Argentina.  I itched from page one....what is it with Calvino and ants?
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rmdig
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« Reply #1388 on: March 03, 2008, 03:57:21 PM »

I'm reading The Bonfire of the Vanities, which is scheduled to be discussed at the New Times Times later this month.  The satirical tone -- everyone is a borderline idiot for one reason or another --reminds me of The Corrections, which is not one of my favorite books.  Wolfe does now and then hit his mark -- his description of the bond trading floor at Pierce & Pierce is quite funny.  Also Sherman McCoy and Maria getting lost in the Bronx.
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Lhoffman
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« Reply #1389 on: March 03, 2008, 05:06:25 PM »

Rmdig....I wonder why the NYT is choosing to read this particular author (and book) now.  Wolfe rather views himself as being on the outs with the NY literary set.  Does the choice have to do with interest in the book or with politics?

I remember reading the book back in the eighty-somethings when it was published.  Nothing really stands out in my mind about it except that there were some funny scenes....oh yes, and the cluelessness of the girlfriend (Maria?).    Maybe it has something new to say for this time.  May have another look.

(Lost in the Bronx....maybe that is one thing that the current political campaign has changed:  racism will no longer be timeless.  or a better way to put it:  racism will no longer be the status quo?)
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« Reply #1390 on: March 03, 2008, 09:26:57 PM »

Not sure why they've decided to read this now.  Certainly nothing has changed on Wall Street over the last 20 years -- greed still rules the day.  But perhaps in the spirit of the times, what with Barack Obama seemingly sprinting toward the finish line, the powers that be have decided that Wolfe's grand caricature warrants another look.  After all, the Times did endorse Hillary.  Has The Bonfire of the Vanities suddenly become some kind of cautionary tale?
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madupont
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« Reply #1391 on: March 03, 2008, 11:33:10 PM »

I figured it was a cautionary tale, as he wrote it.

If such a place as the Bronx exists, created by Wall Street's value of land increasing in value, then  you do not go through it as it is no man's land.

Found the phenomenon of a much praised popular book, when it became that, as altogether weird, because I used to come into Manhattan from the Bronx in early Winter with my host who had a neat little walk-up, apartment as narrow house, something similar to the houses on the San Francisco hills but not as large. Each small home at the top of its cement steps crammed between two others exactly like it all in a row going uphill and/or downhill, with enough room to park in front. The problem was that arriving in Manhattan meant the excessive cost of parking the car at a garage or supervised lot.

The popularity of the subway train was obvious, counting off stops, Gun Hill Road.  I could not imagine how all that had evaporated, pleasant kitchens, bars of Zest soap in the shower, Nina Simone on the records in the living room of a quiet neighborhood, by the time that book became a movie shown on television.   After that, television showed the bombed-out promise of urban renewal regularly; but, it looked exactly like back lots behind tenements between the East Village and the East River, or as the thin Irish poet said to the jazz pianist/accompaniest to Billy Holiday,...the day I killed my first Puerto Rican.  And if that was what it was like on the fringes of Alphabet City then what exactly had happened to the Bronx?

I would guess that maybe the USA was not that different from Europe after all  But, maybe less attractive than Rotterdam.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2008, 11:35:45 PM by madupont » Logged
madupont
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« Reply #1392 on: March 09, 2008, 12:59:15 PM »


Op-Ed Contributor
A Bug’s Life. Really.
By MARK LEYNER
Published: March 9, 2008
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/opinion/09leyner.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

I love this account of how Kafka fooled us completely, complete with commentary by people who represent themselves not by name but by initials, such as " K ".

I've been told a good reason for this to show up on the Op-Ed page of nytimes at this point is because Esquire Magazine for April and on the stands probably Monday has an account which is entirely fictional non-fiction, a new form supposedly between literary journalism and actual reporting that is entirely made up, The Last Days of Heath Ledger.

Would have to guess this kind of puts it in the class with the remarks of all those who guessed wrong about how he died and why he's dead.  I have gone one further to be found somewhere in the forums read like reality at Melba's Place, since I allege that I saw Heath Ledger working as a photographer busily snapping John McCain behaving belligerently when being interviewed as he stood in the aisle or entryway of what I presumed was an air vehicle.  Now, we all know that this is not allowed on airlines anymore. That's it, they throw you off the flight; preferably while it is grounded for your misbehaviour.

Now I ask you would we want a President like that? Who will not respond conventionally and politely to questions about policy but instead acts like a semi-crazed passenger who imbibed too much from the beverage cart and making life unpleasant for his fellow passengers in the world. Oh, that's right, I forgot, we already have one of those.

Of course, I did not actually see this in person, but John McCain was in person and the interviewer could not readily be seen to be identified, but Heath Ledger was obviously there, hard at work making a living and doing a good job at it as he always has, throwing heart and soul into it with every fiber of his being because anything less would be untruthful and not Acting and not him.   As a matter of fact, this was just the kind of job that I have expected of him at this time when we need his continuing level of professionalism more than ever.  I saw it on a video in one of our political forums like Campaign  but probably not Bush Administration forum, nor National Security, probably on You-Tube but who can tell nowadays?   Heath Ledger probably, since we are really hoping he is just working on this secret movie with Michael Moore(which is as it should be if Jack Nicholson insists on only he himself was the Joker when he made that video supporting Hillary).
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nytempsperdu
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« Reply #1393 on: March 13, 2008, 12:01:58 AM »

A week or so after finishing Everything Is Illuminated and still contemplating it at odd times.  I wonder, can anyone help me identify the Wisps of A_____ (damn and blast! I can't find any cites now).  I never did get whether that reference was to a legend, bit of folklore etc. or whether Foer made it up.  Any help would be very much appreciated. 
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Lhoffman
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« Reply #1394 on: March 13, 2008, 01:00:02 AM »

A week or so after finishing Everything Is Illuminated and still contemplating it at odd times.  I wonder, can anyone help me identify the Wisps of A_____ (damn and blast! I can't find any cites now).  I never did get whether that reference was to a legend, bit of folklore etc. or whether Foer made it up.  Any help would be very much appreciated. 

Foer has said the the Wisps of Ardisht were fictional...along with most of the other history recounted in the book.  It is confusing, because Foer's intent seems to be to show how words can be used to manipulate what is, what was.  He presents the histories of his fictional family in a magic realist style, and the most real element in the book, the Holocaust, is made to seem like a wisp or a shadow until the very end of the book. 

There is a passage where Alexander is writing to Jonathan and the context is something to the effect that they are nomads with the truth.  Alexander asks Jonathan if he thinks it is ethical to write "nomadically" about things of this magnitude and answers his own question....if it is right to be nomadic with the truth, then we have to make the real story better than life.

But about the Wisps...that clan of artisan smokers, their cigarettes are illuminations.  Sometimes they hide the light, but at others they make a ceremony of creating it.  And it was interesting to me that Foer had a child make the discovery that matches were not needed.  All that was needed was for one cigarette to be burning and the light would never go out.
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