Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Kindly Ones

The book is out and here comes the controversy...

At this point I would like to refer the reader to another 1000pager Roberto Bolano's 2666 in which the following passage can be found:

"The Bremen German literature conference was highly eventful. Pelletier, backed by Morini and Espinoza, went on the attack like Napoleon at Jena, assaulting the unsuspecting German Archimboldi scholars, and the downed flags of Pohl, Schwarz, and Borchmeyer were soon routed to the cafes and taverns of Bremen. The young German professors participating in the evnt were bewildered at first and then took the side of Pelletier and his friends, albeit cautiously. The audience, consisting mostly of university students who had travelled from Gottingen by train or in vans, was also won over by Pelletier's fiery and uncompromising interpretations, throwing caution to the winds and enthusiastically yielding to the festive, Dionysian vision of ultimate carnival (or penultimate carnival) exegesis upheld by Pelletier and Espinoza. Two days later, Schwarz and his minions counterattacked. They compared Archimboldi to Gunter Grass. They spoke of suffering. They compared Archimboldi to Friedrich Durrenmatt and spoke of humour, which seemed to Morini the height of gall. Then Liz Norton appeared, heavensent, and demolished the counterattack like a Desaix, like a Lannes, a blond Amazon who spoke excellent German, if anything too rapidly, and who expounded on Grimmelhausen and Gryphius and many others, including Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, better known as Paracelsus."

I have a strange sense of humour. Some would argue that I just don't have a sense of humour. Others might say I laugh at my own jokes a bit too much. But I found this passage very amusing...I also find critics of literature in general rather amusing - especially when they are upset. So I'm enjoying reading the critical responses to The Kindly Ones and would advise you not to take the critics too seriously.

As a reader I found that the book rewarded my efforts and was certainly worth reading. I felt I learned a thing or two and I was jolted from some comfy/lazy intellectual positions.

In a nutshell?

Read it and weep.


  1. Congratulations on convincing me in only one paragraph that the book is completely unreadable...

  2. Do you mean the Kindly Ones or 2666?

    I don't think you'd appreciate either Marie, but two words of warning...Riddley Walker...

    Our tastes converge on occasion.