April 26, 2005

Fans of Pomo: Look Away Now

One of the depressing things about being an aspiring writer these days is that, judging from the tripe that actually gets published (and lauded!), in order to have any success in the fiction world one has to write vapid postmodern drivel that is painful to read and boring as hell.

Coincidentally, I just finished reading Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo. It is the quintessence of crap, a nonpareil of nonsense. DeLillo manages the impressive feat of making every single sentence a non sequitur, as he leaps from implausible event to absurd characterization, never once managing to write something that actually creates something as baroque as a ‘plot’. To give you an idea of how irritating it is, I will now write a short passage in the style of Mr DeLillo.

He sat, clothed in the miasma of his obeisance. People hurried around him, a nun dressed in slacks, a street vendor with two thumbs on each hand, a businessman devouring the fact of money. His girlfriend stroked his hand. But was it his girlfriend? Or was it merely his lost empathy for penguins? Suddenly he understood the world, a swirling mass of squishy reality, intensely wide. He wanted nothing more than to ejaculate onto a plate of international treaties, while his ex-wife stroked his calves. Historical currency swaddled his existence. The sun rose, and with it came pizza.

I don’t mean to paint all modern writers with the same broad strokes-- certainly, there are a number of extremely good books out there, being written by a number of extremely talented individuals. Nonetheless, from now on, I will read no contemporary fiction that has not been explicitly recommended to me by somebody I know to have good taste. I can’t handle another 200 pages of DeLillo-esque garbage.


At 28/4/05 11:41, Anonymous Alice said...

The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing! (Melissa Bank) They have a copy at Cheap Thrills. I'd be interested to hear what a non-girl thought of it, cause it was kind of girly, but still lovely, funny, etc.

At 29/4/05 08:25, Blogger Betsy said...

I often think of DeLillo's writing as being the literary equivalent of surrealism in painting. If you're willing to try another, try White Noise.

At 4/5/05 09:47, Blogger Confused as usual said...

'The sun rose, and with it came pizza' is a good line, actually.

I don't know whether we would actually want this to happen, however. Rays of sunshine streaming into my room in the morning are acceptable. Rays of pizza I feel would be less so and would start to smell after a few days. However, I get that your piece was satirical in intent and shall not be too harsh on your metaphors (this time).

At 4/5/05 10:01, Blogger Confused as usual said...

Oh, BTW, you misspelled 'non sequitur'.


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