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review 2018-01-19 14:34
Words fail me
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

Alright, there is a lot going on in this little piece of poison dripping, mind-fuck of a story, and I don't know that I'm up to the task.


First of all, because it's the immediate, I call bullshit on that end (I'm talking of the 21th chapter that was cut-out of the USA version; if you've not read it, this paragraph will make little sense). I read the author's introduction and explanation, and I more or less agree that our empathy and sympathy tends to grow as we mature (and we are more or less savages as kids and teens), but having read the book, I don't believe this level of inner cruelty and utter disregard for other people, or the length it was self-indulged and brought out onto the world can be called "a folly of youth" and hand-waived like that. I do not believe that level of monstrosity is something that can be redeemed, worked out, grow bored out of, and the person just go on to be some well adjusted adult.


I also do not know what is to be done with such a person to be honest, even if my knee-jerk reaction if I was the victim would be to kill them. Brain-washing into effectively loosing their free will does not seem to be the answer though.


Next: There is a very strong undercurrent of the battle of the generations going on here. The way money is treated, those articles in the diary, and the mention of day hour and night ours, and whom the street belongs to, and even, who has the power in the first part vs. the second, and what it consist on.


Actually, the three parts are distillate poison on abuse of power: young hooligans for first, then the police and other punishing/correctional institutions for second, politicians in the third. Everyone screws everyone over, and in the end I hated the lot, little Alex, and his little followers, and the police, and the jailers, and the priests, and the doctors, and the politicians, and the social fighters, and even his victims.


Shit, I wouldn't recommend this one, even if I found it oddly compelling *shudder*. It is interesting, and effective, but a vicious way to provoke thought, maybe unnecessarily.


Done. Onto "I am Pusheen the Cat", ice-cream and a helping of crack fics for the soul.

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review 2017-09-19 01:21
The devil asks you to sign
The Crucible - Arthur Miller,Christopher Bigsby

When ruling is based, and made stringent, on fear of an outside opponent, and someone has the brilliant idea of escalating yet to marking a personal opponent as an outsider, and it catches.


Might be easier to stomach going in without knowing how the episode goes and likely part of the reason that one was picked: no way really. Because no sucker-punch surprise horror can surpass the terror of inevitability, of seeing the evil the pettiness, the hysterical fanaticism and envy wreaths, knowing all the while the devastation it lead to.


I'm a bit discomfited by the part women play on this, saints or demons with little true humanity, but as a whole, a masterful depiction that ages all too well for my ease of mind.


Giles Corey, the contentious, canny old man, takes the badass-crown with his memetic "More weight". He knew what it was all about, and everyone could keep their saintliness debate to themselves. With Proctor the sinner and Hale the naive believer, they make a nice triad.



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text 2017-09-17 18:17
Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 143 pages.
The Crucible - Arthur Miller,Christopher Bigsby

This is just starting, and the ugly is already showing loud and clear.



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review 2017-09-17 12:08
More banter, and I'd have been set
The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett

In a stark time-marches-on fashion, this one is very much a politically incorrect book all around. Since I don't mind that, I was enjoying it, but at some point around a third in, Nora stopped participating in dialogues and got relegated to audience surrogate, and I wasn't having as much fun.


I don't know that I was invested much in the mystery

I figured Wynant had to be dead, and someone was impersonating him for money. His not showing up anywhere was obvious pretty early.

(spoiler show)

but I have to confess I stayed for the train-wreck the characters are. As a rule, I avoid noir because it relies too much on drudgery, dialogue error and backtrack, and it bores me. Here, everyone is so messed up or downright insane I could get my jollies from their hijinks (sometimes horror inducing ones), and I coasted the whole book on this amused sense that I was reading a cast of grotesques caricatures.


Call me morbid, I had fun.



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review 2017-09-05 08:26
Magnificently Unnerving
The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Laura Miller

By the way, I went looking into the publishing date, and in typical wiki walk style, ended up learning about the difference between horror and terror. I need a new shelf, because this one goes into the second without question.


Points I can praise without spoiling (much):


The way everyone chats and snarks, cool as cucumbers while all the shit is going down. At times it made me laugh, at times I would tilt my head and wonder whether everyone was just crazy, and at times I would go back a paragraph wondering if I had miss-read


about the freaking blood/writing/thumping.

(spoiler show)


The dialogue (again), and how it crosses, goes over each others lines, interrupts, repeats, mixes conversations. Very natural. And sometimes confusing. You have to be engaged, because it goes fast.


Eleanor's thought process. Yeah...


All the commentary on social interaction. Jackson is a scary observant woman.


"She knew, of course, that he was delighting in exceeding his authority, as though once he moved to unlock the gate he would lose the little temporary superiority he thought he had—and what superiority have I? she wondered; I am outside the gate, after all. She could already see that losing her temper, which she did rarely because she was so afraid of being ineffectual, would only turn him away, leaving her still outside the gate, railing futilely. She could even anticipate his innocence if he were reproved later for this arrogance—the maliciously vacant grin, the wide, blank eyes, the whining voice protesting that he would have let her in, he planned to let her in, but how could he be sure? He had his orders, didn’t he? And he had to do what he was told? He’d be the one to get in trouble, wouldn’t he, if he let in someone who wasn’t supposed to be inside?"


Not able to comment on without spoiling:


The deep uncertainty that comes from viewing this story from Eleanor's head. Was she just that deranged, lonely, needy and possibly in-denial-lesbian? Or was she not deranged (the other are more or less foregone) and the house gave her a last push? There is also the opening, that if I were take on the context of Eleanor's situation, could mean that when all her illusions and daydreams were ripped from her, she had no avenue left but suicide. She could not cope with her absolute reality.

(spoiler show)


At any rate, an excellently written spook.


“God God—whose hand was I holding?”


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