Perhaps I spoke too soon about Against the Day. I seem to be reading at my usual rate, but no nearer the end each time I finish.
I'm somewhere in the 800s. There are so many characters in play that I have to blank out the need to remember who they are when they appear again. Perhaps, I tell myself, they are all variations on the same theme--the women variations on the sexual spy, the men variations on the lone Eastwood cowboy.
I have no background in WWI history. All that machination, the political intrigue, arguments about borders, alliances, allegiances, religious preferences--it goes, fffft, over my head. I'm sure this makes me a shallow person, but when the novel delves into explanation mode I check out. Skim. Eyeballs fluttering to the back of my head.
I just want people to have conversations, for Christ's sake. I want them to get into arguments. I want them to throw things at each other, pull out knives, take a walk, reveal secrets, chase each other down, figure out the goddamn mystery.
Oops. Wandered into a familiar complaint zone.
Two votes for Cormac McCarthy's The Road for my next challenge. Humph. If the novel's going to be deliberately obtuse (as I seem to recall, the author of A Reader's Manifesto raked McCarthy over the coals for being difficult for difficult's sake. He also skewered Annie Proulx, who I happen to like. He had a bug up his ass about their "sentences"--a quality of sentencing that critics fawn all over and that the author claims is just incomprehensibility) I don't want to tackle it right now.
Give me plot or give me TV!