Friday, January 03, 2014

Recent reading:

Peter Straub, Mrs. God

"The Turn of the Screw" + The Shining + The Haunting of Hill House.  Worth reading, though the novella's cumulative reviews on Goodreads are uniformly depressing.  Eg.,

"[W]hile I did enjoy this book, I cannot say that I understood everything that went on in the story."

"It pains me to give this book only one star because it was so much better than the ending gave it to be."

"[I]t was Mr. Straub's style of writing that made this read excruciating. He's clearly trying SO HARD to be 'literary,' to be seen as above his station (poor horror writers always seem to reach that particular plateau at one time or another) that his writing becomes clumsy and unbearable."

"I'm still a little confused about everything that happened. I guess I'm just not smart enough, but I wanted everything spelled out for me so I was sure I was understanding everything I was reading."

So-called internet fan reviewers are fucking dumb, especially those whose instant explanation for stylistic experiments they didn't like or understand is Pierre Bordieu-lite class critique, eg.,  The poor writer or artist is desperate for social acceptance!  He wants to be seen as above his station!  Bourgeois criticism wants to reduce everything to class anxiety. (I recall versions of this same critique being lobbed even less successfully at Barnett Newman and M. Duchamp back in the day.)  Class anxiety is soothing to the bourgeois mind because it spells everything out just as reviewer #4, above, prefers; it makes the world as legible as the how-to-use-the-lanes instructions at the Hillcrest Pool.

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