"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Workout 2 (FAIL) and fiction review

Saturday, I went out to Afton, planning 31 miles, nice and leisurely. I managed "leisurely." I walked the uphills and didn't push the downhills and greeted everyone I saw out there with (what passes for me for) enthusiasm. Then the thunderstorm came and I knew the hill workout on Thursday had trashed my legs and I quit at 20 miles (3:44. HR=131, AIYC [as if...]). Three days into my training regimen and I'm already in trouble.

"Slow Man" by J.M. Coetzee.

This starts out as a standard novel, then becomes thoroughly modern 1/3 the way through, as Coetzee admits he's written himself into a corner and introduces more characters, one from a previous book. Like the protagonist of the book, the novel has a weak saggy middle; I was seriously considering abandoning it. Then he introduces yet another character, Drago, and the book becomes interesting again, as he investigates the all-too-human problem of deciding whether to go for one's dream when one's close enough to obtaining it that one can see it's not the idealized thing one wanted. The last twenty or thirty pages are actually brilliant; one can see why Coetzee's a Nobel Prize winner here, as he ties in all the minutiae in ways unexpected. One problem I have with his books is his "I'm smarter than you" approach to language, wherein he forces the reader to abandon assumptions made early in reading (for example, the main character's last name, Rayment, doesn't rhyme with payment, but vraiment, and yes, the "truth" of vraiment is intentional as well).

"Col. Kelly's Manatee and Other Stories" by Steve Quick.

El 'Alamein was a desert tank battle and manatees are large, docile aquatic mammals. It would take a much better writer than Quick to successfully combine the two. It doesn't work as satire or farce, as symbolism or allegory, or as magical realism. Best left unread.

Question of the day

The nozzle on my can of WD-40 is stuck. What do I use to lubricate it?


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

The nozzle on my can of WD-40 is stuck. What do I use to lubricate it?

Speaking of rip-offs, isn't this just Stephen Wright's "What's another word for 'thesaurus'?" tarted up a bit?

That's okay. I like my jokes tarted up a bit.

SteveQ said...

First, it's Steven Wright.

Second, "Synonymy" is another word for 'thesaurus."

RBR said...

@ SteveQ: Dear God, man! Have you no mercy?

I mean, obviously my husband does not as he takes and posts these ridiculous pics, but I would have thought a fellow Minnesotan would be kinder.


I will be back to comment on your post. I don't have time to read them, but LORD! That picture!

RBR said...

The answer is butter. It is good for minor burns as well.

I think you missed the purity of message in Quick's work. The manatee is the also known as the "sea cow"

Do you get it now? Maybe if you read more challenging books once in a while
these things would be more readily evident to you.

I found it riveting, refreshing, bold, and some other clique book review word. I am offended on a personal level by your harsh critique of this brilliant work.

RBR said...

Or in the modern English, "Cliche"

Although snotty teenage girls that do book reviews have overused words too.