Editor: Thomas A. Smith
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
By Tom Smith
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"Walter is studious and sacrificing; Richard is a rock star and a womanizer. And though Patty loves Walter for his goodness, she can never eliminate the germ of desire for his far cooler rival. Keeping Richard in mind as a romantic option is the 'freedom that she could see was killing her but she was nonetheless unable to let go of,' Mr. Franzen writes."
Damn tradeoffs. So much better to think like children or soap-opera characters.
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We should not be all that eager to waste out time on another preachy, ideologically-driven polemic masquerading as a novel. We have Ayn Rand for that purpose.
But just to heap some more obliquy on the hack-job at bar, to the extent that this author singles out our culture as destructive or corrosive, I suggest that he is lapsing into that ancient error of the left, the "noble-savage" myth.
If we know very much about life, if we have encountered our neighbors across a broad spectrum of socio-economic milieux, we know that there is no class of men that is righteous, no, not one. Rich, poor and middle have their own vices and temptations. their own ways of losing their souls.
Posted by: Lou Gots | Aug 25, 2010 5:02:11 AM
There are a class of men who are righteous, Gots, I just know not to predict where I am going to find the next one.
Posted by: james wilson | Aug 26, 2010 10:23:45 AM
I always find it to be a somewhat cheap shot to judge a book I have no intention of reading, but I've got karma to burn this week so what the heck. The WSJ review would lead one to believe that the characters in this book define and value themselves through their relationships with others - as opposed to what they've actually done with their own lives. Yes, the world is full of people with these flaws. I'd imagine that they're just as uninteresting in fiction as they are in real life (hence my rule: don't go to LA unless you're being paid to).
Posted by: EvilRedScandi | Aug 26, 2010 5:47:52 PM
@james: "There is a class..." - that's put you right.
Posted by: dearieme | Aug 27, 2010 7:55:56 AM
@james - self-righteous perhaps, but every group has its set of flaws
Posted by: km | Aug 27, 2010 9:09:44 AM
Correct of course you are, Dierieme, speaking correctly and expertly in a language that is likely to have been incorrect itself at one time. Odd that my meaning, in speaking incorrectly, still evokes my thinking more exactly than in speaking correctly. I predict that in two hundred years you will be incorrect.
Posted by: james wilson | Aug 27, 2010 10:42:25 AM
OY! If I hear that one more time, I think I'm liable to run from the house with my arms flying above my head screaming "NO MORE" at the top of my lungs. I wanted someone to point me in the right direction to make GOOD nutritious meals that my family would eat and that *I* (that being the operative word) wouldn't gain massive amounts of weight while consuming.
A bit of a nerd, hobbies include reading the dictionary, or say studying maps. Fresh flowers, typography, beautiful packasadfging, fine china, and exquisite fabrics, unique jewelry; the list could go on…but I’ll stop for now.
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