Throwing stones

With twenty minutes to spare, I finished Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr. It was without a doubt the worst novel I’ve read in a long while. Utterly predictable, depressing, boring, filled with pointless detail… Uh, did I remember to say that I hated it?

My professor thinks that it is one of the best of the twentieth century, risk taking and daring. I try to withhold my sniping in class, but the damn thing is just rotten to the core as far as I’m concerned. It opens by telling what’s going to happen in three paragraphs. The teacher said this was a “risk.” Nabokov does the same thing in Laughter in the Dark with much greater effect. Each of the early chapters has little connection with the main story, except to set the scene. In Mexico, they accept death as a part of life. Alright, I get it already, next! But it never stops. Chapter after chapter ends in meaningless death. Finally, when the major characters are fleshed out, you find out that they are pretty much made of stone. No real feelings, just constant involvement in mundane stuff.

Yech!!!! I just had to rant and get it out of my system. I know this was a fairly popular book years ago, but reading it made me feel much better about ignoring contemporary fiction.

Stick a fork in my ass and turn me over, I’m done.

That settles it. I’m teaching Thomas Dequincey’s “Literature of Knowledge and Literature of Power” on Wednesday. I can’t take any more of this contemporary crap. But I must admit, I did enjoy using Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” today. I know all contemporary writing isn’t bad, it just sometimes smells that way.