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review 2017-07-24 09:52
I don't think I'll be watching this movie
High-Rise - J.G. Ballard

I was trying to explain what this was about to mom on WA, alienation, communication through violence, descent to barbarism. She said "Ah, sounds like Dogville". I left about a third in on that movie, and I don't think I'll be watching this one. It sounds like I did not like this, and, well, uncomfortable as it is, I though it bloody amazing. It's just that the madness that slowly creeps in, and has you partially numbed by the time the heavy stuff crashes in, would not have time to come to full effect in the span of movie time, and would make the impact of violence unbearable.

I realize what I'm saying is creepy as fuck, just as I was aware reading that while the characters are slowly inured to the rising wilderness, the reader is inured to the rising level of brutality. And you kind of welcome it, because you wouldn't be able to cope with it otherwise. I found, about 30 pages from the end, that I had felt more of an impact by the bottle throwing (that first act of violence perpetuated) than what was going on by the last third. Familiarity breeds contempt and repetition indifference.

Yeah... creepy as fuck.

Also, the first third or so was masterfully disquieting. In the context of that first line, which, for the unwary and squeamish, is:


Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.


every little war waged inside a big building takes an ominous shade. I lived in a building much like the one in this book for three years while a student. It was waaay outside of my money-bracket (hell, my parents money-bracket) but the old land-lady let me share her apartment for peanuts so she could have some company. I can tell you all the petty disputes and territoriality are true to life. Though they usually don't get this bloody (except for suicides. Those were an issue on Friday evenings).

Lastly, the symmetry. 3 for each, then 2 for each, then 1 for each (though he kinda cheated at the end), and one for what's left. I don't quite get what was going on with that clean-up at the end, though. End of settling pains?

That's that for my horror roll. I think I'll pick some regency romance next.

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review 2017-07-23 05:51
Nothing happy about it, yet...
The Gunslinger - Stephen King

Well, I... Shit. This is ambitious as fuck, in the fiction and existential department.

I don't like Roland, and I get that lofty ideals are useless from his position. But it's... He reminds me of that adage, the third part of which is that a man with only one reason to live is the most dangerous man in the world. His type of drive, his dogged pursuit, puts me in mind of a slow going bulldozer, and also of persistence hunting. All scary concepts. And his name, wasn't there an old poem...

It was dreary, and weird, and heart-breaking. And I'm puzzled and will continue reading.

 

This finishes my BLopoly double roll, and puts me almost halfway the 24 in 48 readathon.

 

 

The seven hour stretch was this book in almost one sitting. I had to take a break after Jake.

 

I'll roll again in a bit and maybe continue onto the next book. The neighbor is having a loud party with karaoke.

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review 2017-07-16 09:16
Some are Eventual
Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales - Stephen King

This is a very well put together collection. What I mean is, almost a third in, it was good, but not awesome. Too much male perspective, maybe. But then it kept getting better an better, and I finished it very satisfied. Not as good as "Nightmares and Dreamscapes", but better than "Skeleton Crew" in my love vs meh stories ratio.

Autopsy Room Four: Weird mix between humorous and harrowing. Likely most of the laughs were out of sheer adrenaline.

The Man in The Black Suit: Childhood nightmare. That dialogue was... *shudder*

All that you love will be carried away: Dreary. Reminded me of Road-work, and his Bachman's writing.

The Death of Jack Hamilston: I guess this one goes in the same bunch with "The Fifth Quarter", but even more "The Wedding Gig". Not my thing.

In the Deathroom: Lots of testosterone on this one too, but it was awesome.

 

It occurred to Fletcher that in the end there might only be one way to tell the thugs from the patriots: when they saw their own death rising in your eyes like water, patriots made speeches. The thugs, on the other hand, gave you the number of their Swiss bank account and offered to put you on-line.

 

And that great line. I'm sure I've read it before, but I can't remember where.

The Little Sisters of Eluria: Bitter-sweet spoiler. Another reminder that I have to get this saga once and for all. And a big time *Ick!*

Everything is Eventual: So disturbing, to read what the young guy says, but to also read between the lines, waiting for the other shoe to drop for him too. "Firestarter" world?

Theory of Pets: I almost bursted something laughing. Then it turn on you. Loved it.

Road Virus Heads North: Revisited themes.

Lunch at the Gotham Café: It misleads you very nicely. It was great.

That Feeling, You Can Only Say What it is in French: Jesus! (yeah, terrible irony). This one was the best and most disturbing for me.

1408: King going Lovecraftian on you.

Riding the Bullet: Starts disturbing, gets harrowing, ends... bittersweet?

Luckey Quarter: That was depressing. I also kept wondering if she was an addict.

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review 2017-07-05 23:04
Five for one
Las Armas Secretas - Julio Cortázar

I understand now why this one is classified as European lit all the time. I haven't researched it, but I'm pretty sure this one was written after Cortázar left Argentina, because the five stories in this volume are all set in Paris.

I was not that dazzled by this too much at first but then, my bar with Cortázar is "Bestiario", and that's a hard one to upstage in the wow (weird, awesome, uncomfortable, puzzling) factor.

Cartas de Mamá, leaving aside the historical parallelism that some scholar or other wants to saddle on it, was an excellent exercise on revealing the past through the present. Many authors could learn a thing or two about how to do back-story. Of course, back-story is the whole issue here: sins and regrets that turn into silences, and that end that is half fantasy, half delayed acknowledgement. And the great opening line:

 

"Muy bien hubiera podido llamarse libertad condicional."

 

Los Buenos Servicios was a very scathing look at how moneyed people use "the help", many times frivolously, and often callously, and how hollow the "throw money at it" approach is, which is more jarring  (and ridiculous) from the poised view of Francinet. She had more class than any of the cast.

Las Babas del Diablo is a POV nightmare. As it tends to happen when I read magical-realism, I enter a weird state where I'm paying close attention, but at the same time relax my mind and just go with it. Like suspension of disbelief, but I just suspend logic and sometimes even grammar. I find it pays off with many complex or weird plots, or speculative fiction too. Triggers galore in this one, and one VERY uncomfortable suspicion.

"El Perseguidor", now here is the jewel of the book, and the point where I started to love this collection. It was absolutely engrossing. I understand why it has been known to be edited as "El Perseguidor y otras historias". This one got to me, emotionally-wise, and I'm not even quite sure why. I guess it's that desperate search.

"Las Armas Secretas" you know how it's going to go almost from go. Or maybe it's that I've read enough Cortázar to understand the clues he leaves. Or, maybe more, this sense of having read one of his before, about a big house in San Isidro, that has similar elements, but I can't remember to which collection it belonged to contrast.

You know, the more I write, the higher I want to star this. I realize it made my brain jog, and my thoughts come back to it whenever I wasn't reading.

Not his best, but for "El Perseguidor" alone, so worth owning it. I predict re-reads.

 

And there it goes my 4th of July extra. I devoured it, lol

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review 2017-06-27 01:39
And it just ends there
Rosemary's Baby - Ira Levin

I think I remember some comments about how the movie was a campy style of horror. It left me completely unprepared for this read.

This is horror alright. I'm unsettled while writing this, actually. I think it's that most of it is more or less plausible. You take away the supernatural bits, and it would still scare you white.

The young, naive, isolated wife, the selfish husband, all the subservient vibes she has going and the way he gaslights her. That conception scene that's bound to leave me with nightmares.

He drugs her! Let's someone/thing rape her while she's out of it, and then to cover the evidence says HE had his way with her because it was baby-making-night. He makes it as she had too much to drink, he excuses himself as him having a bit too much too, that SHE wanted a baby... So gross and disturbing.

(spoiler show)



Reading how the noose and net is slowly tightened, the way she's cut away from anyone that could help her, was harrowing. At some point I had to tear myself away to work and shop for groceries, and even though I was horrified, I did not want to.

It's an unstoppable read. And way better and scarier than I though it'd be. Cheers to Levin. He was always leery of the way the movie turned popular, but there is certainly nothing wrong with the quality of his book.

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