Monday, August 11, 2008

No Country for Old Readers

The usual vacation reading binge has brought me, finally to this book. Can't say as I understand it. The first 30 pages just scared the bejesus out of me. 'Cause it was pretty clever and all about the antelope hunter becoming the hunted. You know, clever. And then after that, I was struggling to figure out what the point was.

I asked Larry about it every fifty pages or so. I'd say, "What the hell is this thing, anyway?"

And he'd say: You think you know what's going to happen, but you don't.

And to that I'd say: Sure I do. Some other poor sods are going to get their faces shot off.  And this gentle reader will be hanging out over the body against her will, while the narrator preens over the blood gurgling out of the throat or the hand that's been half shot away and this narrator will even wax what you might call rhapsodic about the life draining out of the person and the light going out of their eyes and all. And then we'll walk along with the killer while he drinks orange juice and sits for a long time thinking and going through the phone bills of the deceased.

People do things for a long time in this story. That's the PN's favorite phrase. They sit for a long time. They sit bent over their wounds for a long time. Oh, excuse me. They don't sit. They set. They just set there. Or rather they don't just set there. They get up and shoot each other. A lot. They don't do things. They fix to do things, or they are fixing to do things. And they use words like kindly. That's how we know them to be plain good folks mixed up in evil doings. 

If I sound annoyed, well...

I think your best bet for finding this a masterpiece is to be about sixteen and a boy and drunk on a certain type of B movie. 

Finally, Larry said that when he read it he had the thought that it was some kind of practical joke played by the author on the publishing business. (But in Texas, they'd call it the publishing bidness.) Given that one of the back cover blurbs refers to the writer in question as "our greatest living writer," I'd have to concur. I finished it an hour ago and I've already forgotten most of it.

Still, it would be fun to copy the style. Just to test drive it. Not all is lost.

No comments: