Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: a-study-in-absurdism
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-11-17 23:08
The Boxer and the Goalkeeper
The Boxer and The Goal Keeper: Sartre Versus Camus - Andy Martin

DNF @ p. 28 (of 336)


I've been looking forward to this book. However, having read two chapters, I know that this is not a book for me. Nor would I recommend it to anyone else who is looking to read more about Sartre and Camus and their circle.


No. Instead I would like to point anyone interested to Sarah Bakewell's excellent At the Existentialist Cafe


The Boxer and the Goalkeeper on the other hand ... no. Just, no.


The first chapter describes how the author got interested in Sartre and Camus. He got stood up by a girl, stole a book, and was feeling at a loss for a place in the world - that's when Sarte crossed his path apparently and hooked him. By the end of the chapter, I was glad we had gotten the introduction out of the way and hoped there would be no future reason for the self-involved chap that the author seems to have been to make another appearance.


The second chapter proved to be worse. I am not sure whether the author was planning a joke on Baudrillard's ideas on how images convey messages, but describing a scene by relating to how the scene is set in another book or film is a crappy way to let your readers know what you are on about. And yes, I have just run foul of that myself by referring to Baudrillard. 

However, unlike Martin, the author of The Boxer and the Goalkeeper, I am seeking to explain what I mean:


When describing Paris at the time of the German occupation, I expect to read about curfews, descriptions about what happened to the people, what everyday life was like, etc., but I do not expect to read something like this:

This was post-Casablanca. The last train to freedom had left the station long ago.

And, yes, Martin is referring to the film here.


On the next page, he continues trying to make an argument while referring to other works of popular fiction: Orwell's 1984, Harris' Fatherland, and Dick's The Man in the High Castle


Any work of popular non-fiction that bases its arguments on works of popular fiction, no less works which have little relevance to the subject matter at hand, is starting off on the wrong foot with me. 


Martin lost me completely when over he also included references to works by Camus, Sartre and de Beauvoir without so much as providing an introduction to the works or how they relate to whatever point he is trying to make.


So, not only is Martin presupposing that his readers are familiar with all of the cited works, but the lack of context that he provides also makes him look rather conceited and shows a lack of skill in communicating with his readers.


In short, he either expects his readers to know already what he is talking about and agree with the author on all points exactly, or he is supposing that his readers have no idea what he is talking about and he is banking on his readers to not be able to disagree with the author.


In either case, by the end of Chapter 2 the author had lost my good will to engage with his nonsense. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-03-28 08:17
Reading progress update: I've read 3 out of 340 pages.
Spring - Ali Smith

Now what we don’t want is Facts. What we want is bewilderment. What we want is repetition. What we want is repetition. What we want is people in power saying the truth is not the truth. What we want is elected members of parliament saying knife getting heated stuck in her front and twisted things like bring your own noose we want governing members of parliament in the house of commons shouting kill yourself at opposition members of parliament we want powerful people saying they want other powerful people chopped up in bags in my freezer we want muslim women a joke in a newspaper column we want the laugh we want the sound of that laugh behind them everywhere they go. We want the people we call foreign to feel foreign we need to make it clear they can’t have rights unless we say so. What we want is outrage offence distraction. What we need is to say thinking is elite knowledge is elite what we need is people feeling left behind disenfranchised what we need is people feeling. What we need is panic we want subconscious panic we want conscious panic too. We need emotion we want righteousness we want anger. We need all that patriotic stuff.

Fresh off the press, Spring landed on my kindle this morning (I may have to pick up the gorgeous hardback edition this weekend...just because). 


So, after a few weeks of watching the parliamentary debates on most nights, the opening paragraph of Ali Smith's new book is already resonating with me. 


Unfortunately, I'll need to put off further reading until my lunch break. :(

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-03-14 23:10
It's probably too close to home too soon...
Rule Britannia (Virago Modern Classics Book 120) - Daphne du Maurier,Ella Westland

but ... Holy crap! Du Maurier really did write this little apocalyptic story in 1972?

Emma looked at her bedside clock – it was a few minutes after seven – and then switched on her radio to the local station. But there was no time signal, no announcer with the news, nothing but an interminable hum that must mean there was a fault somewhere, and it wasn’t any better when she tried the national programme. The hum persisted, with crackling and spitting thrown in for good measure. ‘Oh, to hell with it!’ She pushed the transistor aside and lay back on her pillow, her hands behind her head, transposing ‘To be or not to be’ from Hamlet into a critical assessment of her own ambivalent life. To leave or not to leave, that is the question; whether ’tis nobler to continue living, sharing Mad’s life, her home, her whole existence, or to break here and now with all dominion, cut myself loose, start on a separate road …

The trouble is, which road? That was the rub. No openings for girls with or without the right exams behind them. Secretarial pools all jammed with applicants. Men, women, boys, girls, jostling for position, scrambling to obtain the few jobs worth the holding, and ever since the government had backtracked and pulled out of Europe – dissension amongst the Ten was the official reason, and a national referendum had given the government of the day a thumping majority – things seemed to have gone from bad to worse. So Pa said, and he ought to know, being a merchant banker.


Daphne du Maurier - Rule Britannia (Virago Modern Classics Book 120) . Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-02-25 21:55
Reading progress update: I've read 47%.
The Plague - Tony Judt,Albert Camus,Robin Buss

‘I don’t think I’m a coward, most of the time at least. I have had the opportunity to test it. Only, there are some ideas that I cannot bear.’

The doctor looked directly at him.

‘You’ll see her again,’ he said.

‘Perhaps, but I cannot bear the idea of this going on and of her getting older all that time. At thirty, you are starting to get old and you have to take advantage of everything. I don’t know if you can understand that.’ 



Btw, I'm not too fond of the English version of this. I seem to remember that my old German translation had a much better flow and was less ambiguous, too.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?