Thursday, January 12, 2006

DFW and the Island of Missed Diddles

Here is a new article on DFW. His office is in Crookshank hall. Here he is reading. He is very funny.

I finished IJ after New Years (Ms. Wrdnrdy finished quite a few weeks ago, despite the fact that she started after RB and I). It was pretty damn great. Now I am reading (as is Ms. Wrdnrdy, I mean, she's already finished) Oblivion, which RB, who is finishing IJ now, has already read.

But it is long, isn't it?

Yes, it is, and to say "But it is worth the length" in some way indicates that the length is a draw back, which it isn't. You need what he gives you, and yes when I finished, I was sad it was over and went back and read the first part again (which is necessary anyway) and plan to re-read parts over the next few months, at my leisure, which of course I have lots of.

Are there no draw backs to the length, which seems to me, as someone who hasn't read it, to the novel's definich characteristic?

Yes, there are some, at least on a personal level for me. It foreced me to chose between my natural impatience with a book and my desire to read slowly and closely. Impatience won, hence the need for a re-read. But this was just me and may not apply to others.

So what makes it so great?

I would compare, though not necessarily in writing style, to Nabokov, which is to say that though DFW does not read like VN, they share a deeper bond. The ability to have it all as a writer: unique language, invention, experimental structure, but also deeply drawn characters that you really start to love on a very personal level. It seems often when a writer is a stylist or experimenter they lose out on the personal and when they are great with the personal and nothing else, they are boring. To me. But IJ managed, like Pnin or Lolita, to be both exciting intellectually and emotionally. This is a sad book, a deeply sad book, a deeply moving book.

I recommend it whole-heartedly.

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