conan the librarian
February 17, 2011 § 13 Comments
listen, i just realised – lying is just like securitisation fraud! it follows the same process and has exactly the same pitfalls. just the correct mix of fact with fiction, the endorsement of the mix by a friend, the layering of additional lies on the first, the re-endorsement; when the first smidge of doubt crystallises, the inability to prove worth, the rollback of trust, the beautiful, inevitable, ignoble descent.
yes ok, ‘fraud’ usually implies lying etc., but i really like this analogy. so please don’t be killjoy.
somehow it doesn’t seem possible, but i find myself becoming rapidly more aware that i am on my last leg of college. a very long leg, as legs go, but – how do you finish this sentence? – er, the last of such legs. i haven’t mentioned this because i am feeling sad or happy, i have mentioned this because i am surprised that i have noticed this at all.
i re-read a confederacy of dunces; it’s been a few years. it is only as wonderful as it was before. i wish i could say it was better on second read or that i unearthed some incredible new insight this time round, but no such luck. in that sense it was a bit of a disappointment.
to make up for that, however, i found a new author! except that he’s been around for a while already (understatement) and is presently somewhat… senior citizen-ey. i felt terrible for not having ‘found’ him earlier, but i did buy (with some trepidation) a slightly overpriced collection of short stories from a legit book shop (tent) at the jaipur literature festival to make up for that. as it so happens, i needn’t have worried. now that i am impressed, i am offended that i can’t claim him as my ‘discovery before the cool kids found him’. i am, oh cruel fate! a johnny(jenny?)-come-lately on the martin amis scene.
so heavy water is good, ok. what’s important to remember, however, is that amis’ strength does not lie in the dramatic denouement or the subtle twist , so i think comparisons with saki and de maupassant are pointless. what he does have, however, is this incredible ability to describe with effortless effortlessness, small moments that are otherwise indescribable. ya, i am so articulate no? ya i know.
read the fucking book.
language log readers will note with appreciation that he often takes the more difficult route to this end; he tends to rely on fact-based description (red apple) rather than evaluatory description (tasty apple) – which latter is easier. i mean, i just found that commendable.
the endings – often the plots themselves – are no big deal.
i watched him talk on stage at the jaipur festival. he was sitting in a chair, wearing a shapeless white shirt, slouching with his spectacles at the end of his nose, mediating a discussion – and within ten minutes of listening to him talk i had decided that i would buy one of his books. so that either means i am your average sucker for a BBC accent (yes), or that i have a highly developed literary sense.
speaking of well-developed literary senses, i have decided that my next contribution to the college newsletter will be the analysis of carrie bradshaw‘s contributions as a modern existentialist philosopher. this will serve to annoy all the resident nietzsche groupies. it will be like a swift kick in their collective weltenschauung. very long overdue, as far as i am concerned.
me, i don’t think i’ve been more surefooted or full o’ beans at any other time in my life as i am now. a few days back i was sitting on the lawn wearing my large, fuzzy blue sweater, sitting with my feet up, reading the ramblings of an old friend on a satisfactorily scratchy PDF, looking up occasionally, watching the basketball team futz around, watching the football team slow dance in the distance, people cheering, the clouds in the sky all pink and set up for a phenomenal sunset.
one sip of chai, watching the doggies yawn and nip lazily at the flies tickling their noses, and one part of me is thinking, well, this is pretty good. this is pretty damn good. is this happiness?
a philosophical heavyweight once said what makes you happy is for you to crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.
42 is for sissies.
(yeah that was a cheap shot. i would say ‘sue me’, but some of you would probably do a fine job of that.)