Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Fifths

Today I started reading another book, following on from the last book which was The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass, a very odd book since the first fifth was very good, the middle three-fifths was terrible, and the final fifth was good again. Funny to read a book that won a Nobel Prize but which was so flawed. Yes. Says me!
(OK, it may have been flawed, had lame humour, was way too long and was a real bore at times, but I will NEVER forget the horse's head fishing scene with the eels.)
Anyway, as I was saying, I started another book and this one is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I've never read any of his books, but I knew I had to sooner or later. Perhaps it was after the thousandth time hearing the word "Dickensian" used to describe something, I figured it was time to read one of his books. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but 92 pages in and this is NOTHING like I expected. What a strange book! Of course, it's too early to write much about it, if I did the same thing with the Gunter Grass book at the same stage I would have had to hastily come back and flip my opinion 180 degrees, but hopefully that won't happen here. I will get very depressed if it does! Ha, ha! No, I don't think it will. (Better not!) That is very rare and doesn't happen with many books, that you really like them at first then they take a dive down the toilet. The only other one I can think of right now that did that was Invisble Man by Ralph Ellison. That started out great, too! Boo!
Anyway, this Dickens book has really surprised me, it is strange and wonderful (so far) and I can't wait to find out what the hell is going on with the monstrous female characters. Please God let the remaining four-fifths be as excellent as the first fifth!

5 comments:

CA said...

Another book that's dull at first then excellent is, "Of Human Bondage," by Somerset Maughan.
Or for a real change of pace, read, "Talleys Corner," by Elliot Liebow.

Brent McKee said...

Strictly speaking of course a Nobel prize isn't awarded to a work but to a writer for his body of work. So while The Tin Drum may indeed be a flawed work - I have no opinion since I've only seen the movie - it may only be the best known, but not the most representative, piece of Grass's work which collectively won him the Nobel Prize.

Stratu said...

CA: Of Human Bondage was really great, alright. I read that one last year.
Brent: My mistake, I must have misread it - I somehow got the idea that the book won the Nobel Prize. Duh.

The J Man said...

Dickens is the greatest novelist in the English language. . .*David Copperfield* is his masterpiece, you'll want to read it when you finish GE.

Stratu said...

Thanks for your recommendation, J Man. I went straight to the library and borrowed David Copperfield to read as soon as I finish Great Expectations.