I only got halfway through Naked Lunch when I decided I was wasting my time reading it. I had read his earlier Junkie and quite enjoyed it, but his new writing style struck me as ridiculous, unneccesary and pretentious. He'd moved from Junkie to junk.
Yeah, I read Junkie too and enjoyed it - never tackled any of his others though, I think just hearing about his 'cut-up technique' (that was him wasn't it?) kinda put me off. Really - I just want a good old-fashioned story with a proper narrative arc, an' that...
That was him - the totally random cut and paste technique. For what purpose, besides pretentiousness and conning the easily conned...?
Dunno, something to do with producing a feeling of displacement or disconnection or something. To illustrate a sort of psychotic break. Maybe. Anyway, I don't mind "working" to understand a story - but really, that seems to be just putting barriers up for no good reason other than (OK lets get a bit opinionated here) he couldn't do the usual thing which is to just describe what was happening to his characters thought processes or whatever.
Post by David A. Riley on Oct 27, 2010 13:50:06 GMT
I'd imagine, with all the drug abuse and alcohol he'd subjected his body to, there must have been a negative effect on his thinking processes. All this cut and paste was probably just an attempt to bolster up his failing powers. Which is what I think you were saying too.
I've nothing against writers using different techniques to get their story across. A Clockwork Orange, for instance, which was written in a make-believe futuristic slang, I loved. In this instance the technique fit and added to the story to perfection.
Post by Craig Herbertson on Oct 27, 2010 14:04:58 GMT
Loved Clockwork Orange.
The cut and paste technique works well in poetry and songs. Over a long stretch you start to think 'I know, I'll cut this book in bits and paste it on the wall.' Then I can have an arty wall and I won't have to read the book.
Junkie Culture terrifies me. I'm not anti drug per se. I see the point of experimentation and its proven useful to artists on many levels. But I'm sure many of us have known suicides and criminals who ended up there because of hard drugs. Not pleasant. I'll never forget seeing two hard-as-nails guys leap at me with baseball bats. As I jumped away from the door I really thought it was all over for me. It would have been if they hadn't realised I was the wrong man. For some guy it was going to be all over. That was about drugs.
The cut and paste technique works well in poetry and songs.
Bowie used cut-up, didn't he? I think I remember him talking about it in some documentary - I think the doc was made about the time of "The Man Who Fell To Earth". He was being interviewed in the back of a moving car. No idea why I remember that.
I remember Umberto Eco saying he used a similar technique whenw riting the sex scene in the Name of the Rose. He didn't think it was going well and decided to put chunks of text on small bits of paper which he scattered and then picked up randomly and typed out at feverish speed to try and create the mood he was looking for.
I managed two, Macbeth and Clockwork Orange, liked both (even if I am quite convinced Shakespeare got paid by the corpse for his tragedies, and by the pun for his comedies). Most of the rest, I never got past the blurb. I would add Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita to the list, though (I did Russian and Roman lit at uni, being a masochist); sex, violence, the Devil in Moscow, and Pontius Pilate with a headache. And the literary elite do love it, check out the critical acclaim. And Cormac Macarthy's The Road, Jan Potocki's Saragossa Manuscript, Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, Michael Moorcock's Byzantium Endures, Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast, and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Titus Andronicus too, for that matter, and Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, and Thomas Middleton's The Revenger's Tragedy (so trendy Alex Cox made a rather good film of it). So there's my ten. Surprised so few on wordpress got into this topic, nullimmortalis, but then again perhaps not so surprised - nobody wants to be mistaken for a mere vulgar gorehound, eh?
Cthulhu loves me this I know, the Necronomicon told me so
Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum should be on that list, I think (one of my favourite books ever, if maybe a little bit too long). Another contender might be John Fowles' The Collector (and possibly The Magus, though personally I thought that one was rubbish). Of course there's one "horror" story that, if anything, seems to appeal to the intelligentsia even more than it does to most horror readers (at least that's the way it seems to me), and that's The Turn of the Screw, though I really like it - in fact it's just about the only Henry James story I would rate highly.
Paul Bowles seldom gets any attention as a horror writer, presumably because he himself carefully cultivated an image as a "literary" author. In reality he was just a considerably less compassionate Charles Birkin. I mean this as praise. Try the nasty "A Distant Episode" and see if you do not agree. Then work your way up to the short novel UP ABOVE THE WORLD, a sort of precursor to Ian McEwan's THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS, except not as reassuring.
Post by Craig Herbertson on Oct 31, 2010 0:55:50 GMT
Albert Camus, Hesse and Orwell , political, occult and bleak respectively, could be put on the fringes of horror and they are all readable.
The difficulty I have with 'literature' is on two counts - those who are deliberately obscure and clever and those who form part of the literati's sort of reference bibliographies. (Melville, the bastard. Endless references drawn from every page most of them in the imagination of American Librarians)
In this respect Camus, Hesse and Orwell were all clear and lucid writers - they were obviously clever but not out to demonstrate cleverness and not deliberately obscure. They're also horrific. The Plague - scary, Damien - occult rite of passage and Orwell - 1984 - quite ruthless.