Posts Tagged ‘franzen’

Hemingway in and the WSJ.

June 30, 2011

buffalo with hemingway

It isnt easy being human: It wasnt easy being Hemingway; it wasnt easy being his wives (for whom it is easy?) being his children; it was bad being a grandaughter(s). Margaux killed herself. Hemingway impacted  generations worldwide  by his, mostly, “global writing”: toreros, the spanish civil war,  killing beasts in africa, the old man and the sea, the shark, the sailfish,  all had an inordinate impact in english speaking  writers that otherwise would have remained invisible. How tough was being Gregory Hemingway? I would say incommensurably and unknowable: fathered eight children as a functional man  and dying as a woman in jail? Life is larger than any fiction.

The Hemingway saga is simply cosmic. Ignore his life when reviewing his oeuvre and you are in trouble. Impossible to avoid this tragic grid overimposed on his daily life. Mr. Jeffrey Meyers, at the WSJ today, Thursday 30 June,  (whose achievement seems to have been writing a …Hemingway biography….and also a Huston biography and other unimportant bs biographies):  “he-Hemingway- was an uneven writer, but wrote at least (at least, mind you) one great work in every decade of his career’. 

 Mr Meyers: Writers dont have careers : they write, they kill themselves. And they leave writings to be enjoyed and devoured and re read and recried. Unless you became a “writer” in creative writing in college.

However, he concludes: “Most modern US writers…, are now mostly forgotten. Hemingway along with Fitzgerald and Faulkner provides the literary gold…”

 You gotta be fucking kiddin me: I grew up in Chile and read plenty of american writers, not to say british and scottish and welsh and irish…. some in english, some in spanish, some in french. They were considered lesser writers relative to the worlds’ writers: european, India, africa, arab countries, russian (what a drag) and everybody else that we read biased by our own parochialism. But to say everybody else  as USA writers is forgotten? I doubt it. For me, Fitzgerald is mostly a bore and Faulkner, well, a great writer. What about the rest? Jerzy Kosinski, a world hero! (not really) Philip Roth,  a genius, Wolfe?: on account of “Sorry, your soul just died” essay, deserves its own place as a top seeded. Updike, Plath, even Mailer. Henry Miller, not to acknowledge JD Salingers’ catcher is a sin. And I am just streaming. We all have biases, but Mr Jeffreys is unaccountable.

Even though, this review of Hemingways “achievements” is somehow balanced, I feel as always that critics’ focus is misplaced. What do we have today?: Foster Wallace dead and Franzen striving to grow his penis and make literary history.

A well read WSJ client agrees with my view of Mr Jeffreys’ comments in todays’ paper.


Franzen, arghhh…!! A propos of a Farther away..rock.

April 15, 2011

Franzen rayadito

As  I have said before, Jthan Franzen is a superb writer, a decent human being, very decent it seems at that.  So one cant be but  startled by: “David [FW] and I had a friendship of compare and contrast and (in a brotherly way) compete. A few years before he died, he signed my hardcover copies of his two most recent books. On the title page of one of them, I found the traced outline of his hand; on the title page of the other was an outline of an erection so huge that it ran off the page, annotated with a little arrow and the remark “scale 100%”. The size of a dicks’ (seemingly Foster Wallaces) outline imprinted on one of his books (see New Yorker for gory details) could be a defining moment for him?

Why in the world doesnt he shakes off  his  betise and be great? Why doesnt he dives unto  genius and writes with his guts and edits with his brain (as a chick commented today at The Guardian; forgiv me i couldnt refind the article,  maybe i dreamed). I had  some  expectations reading his Farther away at the NYorker. He almost came out. Almost. So here he was, in solitude, looking for a place on earth to face off the beast inside: he chooses Mas Afuera, an “island”, kinda big rock, in Juan Fernandez archipelago, Chilean waters.[one should respect original spellings: he spells Mas Afuera as Masafuera, which is awright, but say something]. In his way there he visited the dead DFWallaces’ wife Karen Green(?) who gives a quota of DFW ashes to be dispersed in Mas Afuera. Things are getting cheesy, but we are on course. He flies to Santiago, blablabla,[ no mention of the freaking tsunami that killed eight chilenos in Robinson Crusoe a sister archipelago island-if he was there afterwards], blabla and somewhere, sometime, the f. bomb:

 ” He [DFW] was sick, yes, and in a sense the story of my friendship with him is simply that I loved a person who was mentally ill. The depressed person then killed himself, in a way calculated to inflict maximum pain on those he loved most, and we who loved him were left feeling angry and betrayed. Betrayed not merely by the failure of our investment of love but by the way in which his suicide took the person away from us and made him into a very public legend. People who had never read his fiction, or had never even heard of him, read his Kenyon College commencement address in the Wall Street Journal and mourned the loss of a great and gentle soul.””…. not ourselves beyond it, could see that David was wrong not to believe in his lovability and could imagine the pain of not believing in it. How easy and natural love is if you are well!”

So you kill yourself to inflict maximum pain on others? You are wrong? Gimme a break.

As many in this country, Franzen has the strange notion that you manage your own mental illness. There are so many educated, well informed people, friends, scientists doctors that hold the view that you can manage your unbalance. Well yeah sometimes, obviousy when you kill yourself you are well  beyond management. Gimme another break. Then, the Farther Away reflection sinks in stuff that you can read in the readers comments.

Yes, DFW was sick, so sick he killed himself. Thanks for telling us this Mr Franzen. Franzen: manup and write with your guts.

PS; Im appalled by Franzen and commentators lack of sensitivity with the people, the flora and fauna, and the geography in general of the Mas Afuera island: “poker face mule”, ‘bad chilean white bread'”, “low quality fish’? ‘Boring rock”? This is the stuff people in the island do, eat and live with and by. Show some fucking respect: capitalist imperialist pigs. I remind the US constituency that “boring” is between your ears. You are boring.

Freedom(Liberty?) many crimes have been commited in thy name…

September 27, 2010

DISCLAIMER: Answering questions, I happen to LIKE Franzen. I should have said I didnt like the book; not that it sucks. Sorry. Franzen, just zeitgeist and schadenfreude

I know one for certain: Freedom by J, Franzen. Despite raving reviews of this “mythical” portrait of american life, it sucks. Which brings back the theme of this months truth and deception. The reviews could be construed as interested deception. Moreover, the sex in the book is pathetic. Oh my. another lame icon bestowed with undue rank. We deserve these minor contributions. We are minor. We became minor. Poor Lady Roland, inmortalized in truth, betrayed by  truth.