Satantango, by László Krasznahorkai

This one was alternatingly intense, uneasy, claustrophobic and funny.

The story takes place in a small Hungarian town where the collective farm has collapsed and the people have no way to make money. They are all looking for a way out, and have placed their faith in a mysterious and charismatic character who may or may not be scamming them. There is also constant rain that has washed out the roads leaving them all trapped.

I loved the way this was written. The long, cramped pages full of texts and long sentences added to the feeling of inevitability and claustrophobia the characters were feeling. There is another layer added at the end, which also makes sense with the style of writing.

 

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Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders

Love, death, ghosts, and history. What a sad, funny, interesting and heart-squeezing novel.

From Wikipedia:

Many years ago, during a visit to Washington DC, my wife’s cousin pointed out to us a crypt on a hill and mentioned that, in 1862, while Abraham Lincoln was president, his beloved son, Willie, died, and was temporarily interred in that crypt, and that the grief-stricken Lincoln had, according to the newspapers of the day, entered the crypt “on several occasions” to hold the boy’s body. An image spontaneously leapt into my mind – a melding of the Lincoln Memorial and the Pietà. I carried that image around for the next 20-odd years, too scared to try something that seemed so profound, and then finally, in 2012, noticing that I wasn’t getting any younger, not wanting to be the guy whose own gravestone would read “Afraid to Embark on Scary Artistic Project He Desperately Longed to Attempt”, decided to take a run at it, in exploratory fashion, no commitments. My novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, is the result of that attempt […].[10]

What must that feel like… to not only finally complete a project you’ve been thinking about for decades, but to also have it be so acclaimed?

I hope he feels proud, because it is great. I never would have though a book written in such a strange way could evoke such strong feelings, but it does. After a few pages of it, you don’t notice the strangeness as much. Or, you do, but it is no longer a hindrance. It blends into the feeling of it. The idea of dozens or hundreds of viewpoints coalescing into a single story of a single night.

I think anyone with an open mind could enjoy this book. The only people I’ve seen saying bad things about it are just complaining about the way it’s written, not what’s written.

The only minor complaint I had was how short it was. The 360 or so pages it claims would actually be probably half that, if each page were covered with words instead of having them spread out as it is formatted.

Read if you want something fresh and interesting and heartfelt!

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Kafka has some way with words that makes everything seem like a slow, surreal nightmare. This story, in simple, straightforward language, manages that feeling while still being somewhat comical.

Gregor Samsa wakes one morning to find he’s transformed into a giant insect-like creature who’s smell and appearance so horrify his family that they can’t bear to be in the same room as him for more than a few seconds.

But, like The Trial, it all has the effect of a strange dream… an inevitable, existential horror creeping slowly but unerringly.

First he is sequestered to his room, only able to listen to his family or guess what they are up to. Then the furniture is removed from his room. Then the room (and he) gathers dust and trash and is left untended… and his relationship deteriorates at the same time.

And it all somehow evokes a feeling of… shrinking, of the world being stripped away until reality is a single room, a single floorboard at which your eye is pointing, unblinking.

A short, strange read. Well worth it.

Stranger Things: Season 2 episode 2

Happy Halloween!

The pumpkin plague is spreading, and not just pumpkins, but trees and crops of all kinds are rotting and covered in slime. Some giant thing from the upside down is causing it to be sure.

We get a flashback to the end of season 1 and see what happened to 11. The scenes of her surviving in the snow in the woods were really effective and well done. Though, poor squirrel!

Max’s brother is a real douche, and I can’t wait to see someone bust his nose. I sure hope someone does…

11’s powers seem to be increasing. Last season, she needed an elaborate isolation tank to do the things she is now doing with just a blindfold…. what else could she do next?

No more mention of 008… will she be friend of foe?

Stranger Things: Season 2 Episode 1

[Spoilers]The season gets started with a bang. We are introduced to some new characters, in a car chase, and one of them has mental powers like 11, except this girl 008, is older, and her powers are mental instead of physical (she puts thoughts in minds instead of physically pushing, throwing people)

Then we get back to the kids we’re familiar with, and they are scrounging up money to go to an arcade. It seems desperately important to them. And we get a fun scene of them playing a game 80’s kids will be familiar with…

At school, the kids witness a really cool guy drive up in a muscle car with the scorpions blaring, and step out wearing an all denim outfit, and sporting a shaggy mullet. They all think he looks cool and badass, but it’s really hilarious the way it was shot.

In the end we find that things are not as resolved as we thought they were at the end of s1, there are still bad guys out there, and rifts 😮

And… we get to see 11! With hair!

I’m looking forward to learning more about this new girl, and what kind of powers she has. I hope she and 11 can meet soon, and we get to learn more of their origins and how they all came to be.

Also… new character Max joining the crew? More video game scenes? I think so

I can’t stop writing

Which may seem like a good problem to have, except I’m supposed to be editing.

Since I finished my novella, I’ve written five short stories, and just signed up to write another… and I’ve only edited, partially, one chapter of my novel.

I know I need to focus on editing, or the writing was for nothing, but it is terribly difficult to stop creating.

So I give in and will try to do both at once! Editing doesn’t take much, if any, creative powers, so I’ll try to write new things and edit old things alternately, and on the same day even… maybe at the same time? 😮

Good luck to me :s

Happy Death Day

In the style of Groundhog Day, or more recently Edge of Tomorrow, Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) is a college student living the same day over and over. Except she keeps getting murdered.

I never know what to expect from movies anymore, but I usually default toward expecting them to be dumb. This one was less dumb than I expected, and actually turned out to be a lot of fun.

Different than most slasher, horror flicks, we get a lot more death in this one because the main character can die over and over in all kinds of ways. It’s not very gore heavy, which is great by my standards, but it still manages to be very tense.  The fact that you know she’s going to just wake up each time she dies makes it even more impressive that they kept any tension at all.

I laughed a couple times, smiled more than a few, and cringed and gasped once or twice too. But most of all, my attention was held the entire time.

Only a few things irritated me, one being when she finds out that Carter–the guy who’s dorm room she is waking up in over and over–and she didn’t have sex (which she’d assumed she must have) but that he just put her in his bed because she was pass out drunk. There is a little smile and ‘dawwww moment between them. But all I can think is ‘she’s feeling warm and fuzzy that he DIDN’T RAPE her?’ But I guess expecting not to be raped on a college campus might be a lot to ask these days…

Another thing that annoyed me is, sorry to spoil but, there is never a reason why she is living the day over and over. The opening leads me to believe it has something to do with her mom’s death, but that never comes into play.

In Groundhog Day we find out he had to be a good person, in Edge of Tomorrow it was alien blood/slime, but in this one it’s a big ???

That, however annyoing it might sound, is actually not a big deal though, because the movie is so fun, and Jessica Rothe is so good. I expect she’ll be in a lot more movies soon, she was very charming and convincingly scared or terribly mean as was required of her.

Good stuff!