thoughts on having finished eleanor catton’s “the luminaries”

August 6, 2014 8 comments


what am I meant to do with myself now?


these writers, they write these books and then leave us cold. is there any planning? here, have some heroin. ah, that’s all I have. there isn’t anymore. sorry.


not that I feel quite like that about the book. but it’s that thing of having lived in it for so long (even with breaks in between).


I can’t say I know exactly what I think of it now, but it is rhythmically impaired, that I know for certain. having that last scene is sweet, yes, but it doesn’t justify the preceding appendix.


also, really, the one moment which we were all most interested in (crosbie’s murder) is the one bloody moment in the entire hashing and rehashing that isn’t described.


still, I do like the story and the people. well, I don’t like anna, she annoys me and is a little pathetic, and for all the screentime devoted to her, I find her ill-drawn, somehow. I’m probably being overly critical. but I like every single one of the other characters. love to love and love to hate, and all the in-betweens. in fact, I don’t think her female characters terribly well-drawn. maybe it’s her way of writing? or my way of reading, which means that I easily fill in the gaps with the male characters? but, no, I think she paints them far more, pays more attention to them.


shepard’s wife? can just about picture her, thanks to her buck teeth, but then only in cartoonish terms, so it’s not really helpful.


lydia wells, who is initially fantastically drawn is treated very slapdash afterward. miss catton, just a few more touches of descriptive prose here and there. it was a bit too spare for me with her. for someone as duplicitous and conniving as her.


that’s perhaps why, really. she goes into interminable detail with all the male characters, all of whom (except for crosbie and emery) are essentially straightforward. even pritchard’s oh-so-conflicted psyche is actually just a simple dichotomy.


the female characters are much subtler and complicated and I feel she flounders with them a little. I simply, could not picture anna. maybe she tried to make her too many women at once? or impossibly mysterious and unfathomable and paradoxical, to the extent that she became unpicturable? whereas lydia and buckteeth are at least familiar types.


but, yes, anna got on my tits with her constant anguishing and her frail obstinacy.


all the others I loved. and hokitika. I’ll miss you.

Categories: general

what i’m reading

August 29, 2011 15 comments
Categories: books, vlog

stir of echoes – richard matheson

July 26, 2011 3 comments

this one i didn’t read because of the film that’s based upon it, although i did see the film. i actually can’t remember too much about it, except that i pretty much enjoyed it, and that it had kevin bacon in it. i remember the atmosphere, though, or at least a kind of image of it – lots of naked light bulbs, casting shadows.

anyway, i liked i am leg-end, so i thought I’d give this a try. it was quite fun, although unexpectedly weird. the premise, if you haven’t heard of it, is that at a party this guy gets hypnotised, which awakens latent psychic abilities. cue murder mystery, psychic turmoil &etc.
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Categories: books

lathe of heaven

July 8, 2011 4 comments

so, i’ve been writing posts, but not getting round to publishing them…! oh well. anyway, i’ve finally got round to this one!

I recently read the lathe of heaven. I read it mostly because of a made-for-tv version I’d seen with lucas haas, james can and lisa bonet (I don’t know if anyone else has seen it). I really enjoyed the film and was looking for a similar kind of thing – which is something of a theme at the moment, as I’m busy reading the bourne identity for the same reason!

well, the book is quite different. most people who’ve seen the film after having read the book don’t like it too much, as it simplifies the plot too much. they feel that it isn’t essentially true to the story. I was rather caught off-guard by the extra stuff, and actually felt that the film was pretty true to the essence of the book.

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Categories: books, general Tags:

we can remember it for you wholesale

April 14, 2011 15 comments

I love dick and i’ve been wanting to go into his short story catalogue ever since (like many of you) I first discovered so-and-so film is based upon a story by philip k dick – and then that-other-film, and yet-another-film, and then oh-this-film-too.

I’d only read 2nd variety, having tracked it down in a best of sf collection, so I decided to go for we can remember it for you wholesale (try telling someone that’s what you’re reading. it’s a very hard title to understand when said out loud), which is of course what total recall was based upon. I got the dick collection the preserving machine, and wasn’t familiar with any of the other stories in the collection at all.


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Categories: books

neil gaiman’s bookshelves

September 4, 2009 10 comments

so neil gaiman posted a link to his bookshelves on twitter and guess what i’ve been doing, bookshelf perv that i am…

uncle neil has been very gracious and allowed shelfari to post big ol’ closeups of his shelves so that we can actually read the titles on the spines. and the coolest thing happened to nymeth, she spotted her favourite book on his shelf! her favourite author has her favourite book! 😀

i wonder if you guys can spot any of your favourite books? in fact, shelfari have addressed that very issue by creating a forum for discussing which books you and neil share and any other thoughts that you might have about his bookshelves. you can even add the ones you spot to a virtual bookshelf!

hooray for bookshelves!

Categories: books

the end of mr. y

September 3, 2009 8 comments

the end of mr. y by scarlett thomas is a novel about ariel manto, a lonely phd student who stumbles upon an extremely rare 19th century novel. claiming to be a true account, the book describes the discovery of a tincture which transports the drinker to the troposphere – a victorian cyberspace where you can access the mind of any person. ariel is fascinated by the troposphere and as the book contains the recipe for the tincture she is curious to try it, after all, what’s the worst that can happen? it’s only fiction isn’t it?

isn’t it?

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Categories: books