Strike two.

Okay, I made it just over halfway through The Meat and Spirit Plan, and I’m abandoning ship.  I feel somewhat almost bad to be focusing my irritation – with having started two books in a row that turned out to be duds – on this particular dud, but if you have the means at some future point to get your hands on a copy, let me point you to where I said "enough" – it’s page 118 that I said "I am wasting my time with this" and it’s page 119 – actually, the following passage is all of page 119 – that I read the following:

When I stop sleeping with Ian then stop sleeping it is noticed.  It is different.  Life continues.  At night I sit in front of the terrible room’s large bay window.  I look out of it, smoke cigarettes, and think about shit.

You do?  Really?  That last sentence could easily serve as a summary of this aimless work.  Wicked bland.

I flipped ahead to see if things were going to shift direction dramatically, but they don’t really seem to shift at all.  And the ending appears to be the young woman sitting down to write this very book you’re holding, which might work for me as a conclusion if I was fifteen to seventeen years younger, and a series of pictures.  The Raw Shark Texts ended with a picture, and I didn’t like it then, either.  It doesn’t exactly take a sorcerer supreme to tuck a few pictures in to the end of a novel, and I’m not interested in it as a general practice.  It reeks of self-satisfaction and laziness.  A gimmick.  If anyone has an example of it working, please, put me in my place.  (Do not go with Foer.  You will hear a loud The Price is Right you-got-it-wrong buzzer.) 

Now what?

5 Replies to “Strike two.”

  1. On the bright side: it seems we have a greater chance of publishing our own, ostensibly less aimless, work if this has made it out into the harsh light.

  2. The only place I can remember pictures working at all was in Sebald’s The Emigrants. But they were photographs, not drawings, and they were dispersed throughout.

    Oh wait, what about Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions?

    Who could forget that asshole?

  3. Ahh, I knew as soon as I published that post that someone would call out Sebald on me. Curse you Antoine Wilson!

    Other than Sebald? (And Vonnegut, though use of the a-hole drawing might not qualify; I think drawings fall into a different category, but please don’t press me on why, far too early in the morning)

    (Oh, and the new APS looks good.)

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