Catch Up

I took last week off to have minor surgery. You'd think this would give me plenty of time to read*, but mostly I slept, or lay in bed groggy and unable to focus my eyes. By the weekend I had flushed enough of the drugs out of my system and started reading something that didn't require a lot of attention: Ken Follett's World Without End. My Dad read it when it came out (unlike me, he enjoys books in hardcover), and mentioned it wasn't as good as its sort-of prequel, Pillars of the Earth, which we both enjoyed very much. I'm about halfway through right now, and he's right. I remember loving Pillars the first and subsequent three or four times I read it, but those readings happened many years ago. Perhaps Follett's writing style has changed, or maybe I've grown out of it, but I'm finding myself scoffing at some details (especially in the sex scenes, good grief), and not transported in time as I was when I first read Pillars. Perhaps I need to re-read Pillars and see what's really going on here, but I don't really have the time to devote to another 1000 page monster right now. Anyway, it's fine, it's mindless narrative, and that's about all I can handle right now.

Before surgery, I finished Torpor, the second Chris Kraus novel. It's not nearly as world-changing as I Love Dick, but the thoughtful, well-read, extremely observant, honestly struggling voice is still very much present. Kraus continues to inspire, and makes me want to build little shrines to her. For some reason, the scene in which she casually writes of hanging out with Félix Guattari, and his heroin addicted wife, in Paris while watching the Romanian Revolution on TV really stuck with me. Three paragraphs later she quotes one of my favourite authors, Angela Carter. Her life is an amazing literary theory/rock 'n' roll dream; an autobiography of a literary, feminist Nancy to Sylvère Lotringer's professorial Sid**. Kraus, or the character Sylvie, is also my age in Torpor, dealing with the end of fecundity and the sexual magnetism that youth endows.
Sylvie remembers something her old acting teacher said when she was 22 and fucking him. She'd asked him why he left his wife and he'd replied, "When she was 35, she just became too bitter.
Once again, I tried to find an email, somehow, somewhere, but of course, no dice. I did, however, find a podcast of an interview and reading with Kraus, so the obsession continues. I feel a bit like Violette Leduc...

Sitting beside me, I have three magazines that need attention as well. I was tipped off to a Susan Faludi piece in Harper's by a friend who has a subscription. I do enjoy me some Faludi! As well, I went to Word on the Street on Sunday, and picked up the latest issue of Spacing, and subscribed to the Walrus, getting the October issue immediately.

And the library queue waits for no woman. Oy!

*Or write. I still feel like my brains are a bit scrambled, and this entry took far too long to write, but since I'm off work today, still feeling so, so ill, I thought I'd post something.
**This might not be nearly as weird as it sounds. Kraus was involved in the punk art community of New York in the 70s and 80s, and Sylvère is described as wearing leather jackets without shirts to teach classes, and constantly failing to meet publishing deadlines -- ie he's style over talent/substance. That said, they also marry, get a little dog, and own a house in a small town in upstate New York; I wonder how bourgeois Sid & Nancy may have become without the drugs...

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