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Red Doc> (2013)

Red Doc> (2013)
4.15 of 5 Votes: 1
0307960587 (ISBN13: 9780307960580)
Alfred A. Knopf
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Red Doc> (2013)
Red Doc> (2013)

About book: right now or rather this summer i have been rewatching buffy the vampire slayer as my mother watches it for the first time. we are nearly done now, we are at the end of season seven, which incidentally is also my least favorite season and the worst season. it is the only season where i really feel like the plot did not have to happen as it happens, because often it seems like things happened for no reason other than BECAUSE. i think of the writers for the show figuring out what should happen next and then coming up with something that makes it onto the show and as they discuss with one another or counter each other's thoughts and say But this, why this? the other person says BECAUSE, and their opponent says Oh, as if that's satisfactory now. Why is this thing happening, I often think to myself during various parts of the season seven episodes. BECAUSE, i answer myself, from the point of view of the writers. it is happening BECAUSE. i reread last year's new york times review of red doc> because i'd mostly forgotten it and because i like seeing how people attempt to write about anne carson (which: anyone care to point me to a review of red doc> that deals at all with the 'wife of brain' sections? (they seem vaguely chorus-inspired to me.) i feel like often people take anne carson's weirdness as a pass to not actually closely engage with some of her work's structures, and it's irritating). it has minor complaints about red doc> that i have about buffy season seven: "[N]othing that happens seems particularly inevitable or, for that matter, interesting, except insofar as Carson’s eccentric high jinks dress events up. “Red Doc>” might fail as a novel — did it want to succeed as a novel? — but it succeeds as linguistic confrontation." but whereas my BECAUSE complaint makes perfect sense for a conventionally plot-based tv show it doesn't really make sense for poetry by anne carson. which the other seems to be aware of, thus the 'did it want to succeed as a novel' interjection, but it's weird that the author of this review, a poet herself, can only conceive of two poles, SUCCESSFUL COHERENTLY-PLOTTED NOVEL vs. LINGUISTIC CONFRONTATION. anne carson succeeds because of her use of surreality to evoke reality. there is no coherent plot beyond "eccentric hijinks," stuff happens for no real reason, no one really understands what's going on—all that shines through undisturbed is the emotions and it's really very much like life, which is not usually inevitable or interesting or coherently plotted, and fails. inevitably (that is the one inevitable thing life does). in buffy i am not looking for things to happen BECAUSE, but often i am looking for that in works of literature, especially in stuff by anne carson, which so often i feel is about BECAUSEness, and does not seek to rationalize the BECAUSE but works within it, seeks to portray the minds of people who must live in this BECAUSE. or as anne carson put it: "You/look at your face your face/is old but suffering is/older." (in case it's not clear anne carson is another one of my queens, she is the holy spirit where lydia davis is the father and zadie smith is the son and virginia woolf and joan didion are just like overarching beings even greater/cooler than christian conceptions of god, like joan didion is gaia maybe and vwoolf is just, like, everything, the entire universe) Autobiography of Red is one of my most favorite and personally important books. So of course I was so excited when this sequel came out. Perhaps the bar was raised too high with AOR. There are some lovely moments in this book, especially the poignant end with G's mother, but overall, it didn't have the resonance for me that AOR did. It was fine, but I didn't feel that same sense of wonder, of breathlessness, of feeling I was savoring a beautiful little jewel. I wish names hadn't been changed, and I found some parts difficult to follow. Of course, Carson is always great with language, with her surprising phrases and economy. Still, the emotional resonance of this book wasn't nearly as strong for me. AOR will always be beloved to me. This one, less so.
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I love how much reading carson feels like reading the transcripts of a really important dream.
More opaque than a pair of 70 denier tights. With less narrative.
I reviewed this book at The Bull Calf Review online.
Stunning work as usual
changed names.slit
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