Sunday, October 31, 2010


I don’t know.  I think I must have missed something with The Man in The High Castle.  In a way it was a bit like Carry Me Down – it had no ending.  The authors draw you into these peoples lives and situations, build it to a climax and then pull you out of it…… and then what?  You’re just left hanging and feeling like you’ve just wasted valuable reading time.                                                  
I thought I hadn’t downloaded the whole novel to my iPod.  I listened to the last disc twice, then again on my laptop – and nope, there was definitely no ending.  I ask you ‘what is the point?’!!
It was an interesting theme, and the various character stories, though not necessarily intertwining, were good.  I liked the idea of the ‘Oracle’……… but you don’t get that satisfied feeling when there are a ton of loose ends that need tying up.  I feel very let down.
I’m still giggling through Choke.  It really does evoke some funny (if not sometimes shocking) images.  Nurse Paige who takes care of Victor’s mother in the nursing home has read his mother’s diary and informs him that his mother believed that Victor’s embryo contained DNA from Jesus Christ himself.  Another patient at the nursing home recognises Victor (from a choking incident) and says that he has the capacity for great love and compassion.  Victor is terrified of this statement and needs re-assurance from his best friend Denny that he is in fact a degenerate loser!  So degenerate in fact, that they both spend a night prowling gardens and drinking the beer left out for slugs.  This really is a bizarre story, but it's extremely well written and is a very satirical slant on getting through life the best way you can.
I have started The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky which is about an impoverished and orphaned Prince Myshkin who has travelled from Switzerland where he was being treated for his idiocy (epilepsy) to St Petersberg to acquaint himself with the Princess Myshkin.  They are distantly related, and are both pretty much the end of the family line. The princess is not very keen on meeting him at first and is worried that he is an itinerant traveller who will require assistance; but she warms to him and so do her three daughters.  He is conversational, though he doesn’t seem to know when to shut up, and when he does he seems embarrassed about what he has just said.
At one point the characters are talking about Capital Punishment and Myshkin describes how he watched a man guillotined.  He felt it a terrible punishment as there was such a certainty of death in those last seconds from hearing the knife fall, there is no hope of getting away - an awful trauma for the soul.  He also talks about a man who was up before a firing squad, and how he felt that the five minutes he had left was actually a really a long time.  He could spend two minutes saying goodbye to his fellow prisoners etc but when he was reprieved instead of savouring the infintisimal minutes he now had, he wasted many of them. This is, without doubt, autobiographical and very haunting….. apart from the many Russian names and nicknames, I know I am really going to really enjoy this novel.

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