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Showing posts from July 31, 2022

a perfect novel: Queneau's A Hard Winter

  In Obitor , Mircea Cartarescu’s Proust-like novel of growing up in Bucharest, the narrator describes watching a small bug cross the expanse of two pages of Doestoevsky’s The Double.   The bug is, of course, unaware of the characters in The Double, its living space: It patiently makes its way over the hillocks and ravines of the bad quality paper, tunnels into the pages, then reappears in the yellow light without according the least attention to the complicated psychological processes of Goliadkin, to the black print, larger than it, which codifies them.” There is a kind of novel I love that does something like this with its characters. In Joyce’s Ulysses, the characters traverse the Odyssey without having any idea that this is how their motions on that June day in 1904 are being accorded – at the most, some of them think they are role-playing Hamlet. In Under the Volcano, a whole astrological, alchemical and numerological world is expressed in the drunken journey towards death o