Friday, 17 May 2013

From the Mouth of the Whale - #33

Image sourced from here
This book is beautifully written. It's lyrical. It picks you up and carries you along. You are swept through streams of consciousness and through herbal medicinal books, and then through third person narrative. You switch from one to the other seamlessly. It's a masterpiece in that regard.

But I am left with one overwhelming question.

What the fuck was that all about?

I mean I get it. It's the story of Jon├ís the Learned and his exile. It's about the amazing things he does or witnesses before he is accused of sorcery  It is about his weird magic realism visions. It's about his wonderfully patient wife. It's about him going to Denmark. But... what's the point?

I dislike getting to the end of the book and being thoroughly confused. It's the awkward break up conversation. "It's not you, it's me. I just don't think I can see this going any where." The book is as silent as my exes on the receiving end of the speech. Which could be a credit to my exes. But you just burble to fill in the space. In the end you just convince the other person they are better off without you or your understanding, because you have just revealed yourself as being slightly insane and they feel like they have dodged a bullet. "Why doesn't this girl just shut up?!?"

But I don't like that it my reading. The book that is cute and charming enough to get you to snog it while you're a little bit drunk, and then wake up thinking "What the hell did I just do? Please tell me it's not lying next to me." The book that tells your these epic sagas and then gets to the punchline and tells you "Oh I would tell you the point but it's too existential for you." (which is an "excuse" I was given by a staff member turning up 5 hours late for a shift (shifts were 4 hours long)).

See. This makes me grumpy. It conjures up images of break ups, drunken snogs with pretty, vapid boys and horrible prats who think they are all higher plain but are just fuckwits. It takes you on a pretty journey and I don't get the conclusion. If there is one. And I just don't know why I was taken on the journey.

I really do wonder if it is a cultural thing. Do I not get it coz I'm not Icelandic or even Scandinavian? I'd hope not but I may be right. I will read another of his books. I hope it is just this book, and it is the longest of them all. But I am prepared to be completely confused again. I'm not saying don't read it, just in case it is really me.

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