Wyatt Mason and his anonymous friend (my money’s on Tom Wolfe) (not really) get into a thus-far friendly disagreement about the quality of O’Neill’s writing in Netherland. The fillet in question:
Over half the rooms were occupied by long-term residents who by their furtiveness and ornamental diversity reminded me of the population of the aquarium I’d kept as a child, a murky tank in which cheap fish hesitated in weeds and an artificial starfish made a firmament of the gravel.
Like Mr. Friend I found the last bit there, “and an artificial starfish made a firmament of the gravel” to be equal to the sound made when someone yanks a needle across a record in the middle of “Sea of Love.” (Record – music format before cassette tapes. “Sea of Love” – ah, forget it) Unlike Mr. Friend, I didn’t find this sort of errant imagery to be all that common in the book as a whole, which I enjoyed.
But hey, read the post for yourself, here’s the link, and there’s more to come later in the week.