Monday, 2 May 2011
Reviews Of Books I've Never Read
Against The Day by Thomas Pynchon
Let me preface this review by saying that due to some financial setbacks in my psychiatry practice (meerschaum pipe explosion, medicine ball concussion, liverwurst lawsuit, etc.), I have been forced to procure all my reading material from the free lending shelf at my local community centre. In a way, it has broadened my literary horizons and may I say, with apologies to all the heavy hitters of the writing world, Vanna Speaks, The Biography Of Vanna White, was a moving and thought-provoking expose and behind-the-scenes look at one of North America's most beloved woman in the media arts. If you thought her life was just vowel turning, you've been missing the boat. There was also coleslaw, crochet, shower caps and a dead husband too. But I'm not here to discuss Vanna White. No, I'm here to review Against The Day and as slight as Vanna White's book and her physical stature for that matter appear to be, Against The Day is the polar opposite. I have used this book for killing silverfish, spiders, something that looked like a cross between a centipede and Ernest Borgnine and I'm wont to conjecture, although still untried, could probably send a mouse to its grave with one swat of this hefty and lofty tome.
Now that's not to say I'm advocating only this book for killing vermin and the such, because really, wouldn't a large print copy of say War and Peace or your average dictionary, do the trick. That may be but the sickening thud I'm receiving when I smash this book down on tiny critters has given me a satisfaction that no Russian masterpiece or encyclopedia set has ever delivered before. Now, physicality aside, because my training has taught me to deal with also the mind, I enjoyed the oblique first page of this book immensely. Then I fell asleep. I'm not sure if it was the weight of the book pressing down on my ribcage and thus, deprived me of the proper amount of oxygen to keep me conscious or the deep, ponderous issues brought to light that steered my brain into a somnambulant state. Nevertheless, on a further skimming the next day, against the day you might say because it was pretty cloudy out, once I had my senses around me, the de-inking of the giant squid, the balloon race with Rabbi Mendelbaum and the philosophical treatise on nature and being cleverly disguised in the narrative as a dialogue between the lead character, Borbo or Blimpo, I'm not sure which, my eyes were a little blurry by that point and caked with icing from the streusel cake I'd sneezed into, and a baked potato, was invigorating. All I can say is well done, Mr. Pynchon, well done. Against the Day is right and I thank you for bringing issues such as balloon racing and squid de-inking to light. You might say that the title, Against The Day could be the anthem of silverfish because they only come out at night, which is about the time I wait for them, squatting on the kitchen floor in my camouflage underwear, Against The Day in my hand ready to squash them into oblivion.