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review 2018-12-11 15:00
Ruthless Pursuit: "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald



(Original review, 1981-04-30)



“The Great Gatsby” is essentially a love story. Daisy turns out to be as unattainable to Jay as Beatrice was to Dante but this being the US, the hero doesn't elevate his idol to muse status; instead he embarks on a ruthless pursuit that ends up destroying him.

It's difficult in the present era of throwaway relationships to comprehend the extent of Gatsby's romantic obsession. The questions are: 1) would he have taken to crime had Daisy returned his love and told her wealthy family to go to hell and 2) did he love Daisy precisely because she was a romantic chimera, a glamorous woman who represented a rarefied world he wished to conquer?

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-12-10 21:13
Rattling SF: “The Affirmation” by Christopher Priest
The Affirmation - Christopher Priest



“Living is not an art, but to write of life is. Life is a series of accidents and anticlimaxes, misremembered and misunderstood, with lessons only dimly learned. Life is disorganized, lacks shape, lacks story.”

In “The Affirmation” by Christopher Priest




A Priest book isn't just a (SF) book. It is the distilled essence of a philosophy, a memoir; a piece of someone's soul. Losing the book is losing that element. On a more mundane level, it is also a memory - I read a book when I was about 7 (a proto-choose-your-own-adventure thing) that I've fitfully searched for ever since and never found, and doing so would put me right back on my nan's sofa on a Saturday afternoon with the wrestling on.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-12-09 12:41
Performing in Silence: “The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea” by Yukio Mishima
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea - John Nathan,Yukio Mishima



(Original Review, 1981-04-24)





“They performed in silence. He trembled a little out of vanity, as when he had first scaled the mast. The woman’s lower body, like a hibernating animal half asleep, moved lethargically under the quilts; he sensed the stars of night tilting dangerously at the top of the mast. The stars slanted into the south, swung to the north, wheeled, whirled into the east, and seemed finally to be impaled on the tip of the mast. By the time he realized this was a woman, it was done...”

In “The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea” by Yukio Mishima.



I've read many scary books with frightening stories before and since, but they don't disturbed me the way this book did. The book was disturbing in a completely different way - it felt as if it was talking about me, saying something that's scary yet true about me.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-12-09 11:29
Growing Inward: "The Blind Owl" by by Sadegh Hedayat
The blind owl - Sadegh Hedayat



(Original Review, 1981-04-20)


“I was growing inward incessantly; like an animal that hibernates during the wintertime, I could hear other peoples' voices with my ears; my own voice, however, I could hear only in my throat. The loneliness and the solitude that lurked behind me were like a condensed, thick, eternal night, like one of those nights with a dense, persistent, sticky darkness which waits to pounce on unpopulated cities filled with lustful and vengeful dreams.”

In “The Blind Owl” by Sadegh Hedayat



“My one fear is that tomorrow I may die without having come to know myself.”


In “The Blind Owl” by Sadegh Hedayat

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-12-09 11:04
Youthful Frolicking: "The Mysterious Stranger" by Mark Twain
The Mysterious Stranger - Mark Twain


(Original Review, 1981-04-17)



“The Mysterious Stranger” by Mark Twain which presented a very bleak and troubling vision of humanity. It had some Huck Finn style youthful frolicking too but this was swamped by that sense that human history and the consequences of moral decision making are a horrible dream that the narrator may be able to escape from but we cannot. I was expecting some jolly progressive waffle about the stupidity of religion but the book went far deeper than that especially when Satan started compassionately bumping people off because he could foretell how awful their lives would be if he didn't.

 

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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