So. I haven't given up completely on Against the Day. Once I announced that I wanted to drop the book like a hot rock, the plot came back into action. I like the sections where the Chums (boys in a balloon) fight with each other over ridiculous adolescent shit, faux spy intrigue, and I like the out-West portions with lost sons and fathers. I also like the sections of the novel devoted to the noirish detective, Lew. So I've forged ahead. I'll just speed read the parts that confuse me (a habit created and honed in graduate school) and sink my mental teeth into the parts where I get gription.
In the meantime, I've started to read Augusten Burrough's Running with Scissors as comic relief. (Thanks, Kyle, for the great Christmas present!) It's fun, intellectually nonconfrontational, and vaguely reminiscient of one of my faves (who I recently misnamed, whoops, in a previous post), David Sedaris. Both B and S are borderline obsessive compulsives, gay from the cradle, with crazy family situations, notably the mothers. Both B and S seem to cure themselves, partially, with cigarettes. Both have very tenuous relationships to established authorities (schools). Both write wryly and yet fondly of their childhood "abuse."
I have to confess that I like S about 25% more than I like B. Why? B is not as anally obsessed as S. I like a good anal obsession.