Thursday, July 26, 2012

It happened again...

Yet another Did Not Finish.  I checked last year, and it seems I'm good for two DNF's a year and they always come back to back, so the good thing about this is that I'm telling myself I'm done for the year. 

Should I have any regular readers, you know that I don't feel obligated once started to finish a book, but it always kinda hurts--or perhaps, catches me off guard--is a better phrase, when it happens.  This years double hitter of, "I can't get through this hot mess," comes as a major surprise, even to me.  I've mentioned about the shock of Perez-Reverte's The Nautical Chart, but not getting more than a hundred pages through André Aciman's Eight White Nights, was a surprise that really took my breath away.  Granted, he had no where to go but down.
I went into this book with Call Me by Your Name on my mind which is easily one of my favorite books ever, that said I read Eight White Nights--or at least one-hundred pages of it--and judged it on it's own merits.  Is it possible that one of your all-time favorite writers can also turn your stomach? 

Love stories that happen in New York City make me sick.  Anyone who doesn't live there and has ever read a love story set there may not agree, but probably knows where I'm coming from.  They are elitist, and esoteric and at times it feels like they are purposefully so; to be read and enjoyed only by New Yorkers.  That aside, some very wealthy members of the Jewish community are throwing a Christmas party in the Upper West Side.  (Even more elitism, yeah!).  At this party we meet the most absurd and unbelievable character since ever: Clara.  Authors spend a lot of time on dialogue; making it sound authentic and feel right in our ears, even writing out all the mistakes and bad grammar that we use when we speak in an effort to come across as real to the reader.  Aciman probably worked harder than anyone else to ensure that trying to figure out what the hell these people are talking about was a convoluted exercise in painful futility, self-serving philosophy, and altogether overwrought-no-yield prose.  They speak stiffly.  It's jarring, but you get into it rather quickly, but no one would ever seek these people out for conversation, and the poor guy who some how falls for Clara (can't remember his name) takes us on the journey of just how difficult it is to talk to this woman.  It's not endearing.

Should you ever meet anyone who spoke like these people in real life, you would distance yourself, speak aloud 'Why are trying so hard, speak normally' or punch them in the face and walk off in confusion as to why they made you do such a thing.  I have friends and family in New York City, dare I say I even know Jews in the Upper West Side, but I don't know anyone who would tolerate talking to anyone at this party.  Can't you tell I really wanted to finish this book?  Stuff like this makes up my best commentaries. 

The DNF's suck but they do help in clearing out space on my bookshelves and earn me points at the book store.  I'm currently finishing the Warriors anthology I've been working on; it hit a really good stride with four or five nice pieces in a row.  After that I'll take Maria's suggestion and pick up Shadow of the Wind, which is probably what I should have done instead of Eight White Nights. 


Andrea Johnson said...

when i dump a book and DNF, I feel bad for about 5 seconds. Sometimes it's a book that I'm just not in the mood for, and 6 months later that same book blows my mind. . . and other times it's just because the book is utter crap. they can't all be winners.

Chad Hull said...

I may try picking both of these back up at some point in time, but I think I've learned a lesson that even my favorites can lay an egg from time to time.