Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book-A-Week-A-Thon-Fest...........Week 2: the Weekening

You like what I did there?

So for week 2, I grabbed somethin' from my large library of unread books I've bought over the years, or as I like to call it, the hall of great financial decisions. This is what I just finished reading.............

The cover says "a novel", but really it's a collection of short stories by Neil Jordan, including Night in Tunisia.

Now, I'm a fan of Neil Jordan as a filmmaker. Michael Collins, The Brave One, and of course The Crying Game, which was only recently dethroned as the ultimate haha-you-watched-a-gay-movie movie by Brokeback Mountain. In my opinion, Mona Lisa with Bob Hoskins is one of the most underrated flicks of all time. So Jordan is cool with me. But I had never read any of his fiction before, and barely was even aware that he was known as an author, until sometime last year when I found this collection of short stories at a goodwill. But I never got around to reading it. So now I read it.

I was not very impressed.

It's not that he's a horrible writer..............although he is incredibly pretentious and definitely clunky with prose. But he's still not horrible. He knows how to paint a vivid picture and build believable characters. The main problem I had with his stories is not his technique. It's that as a writer, he is (and I know this will come as a shock based on his filmmaking career) obsessed with sex. And not in the guilty pleasure "who/what will Chuck Palahnuik make his characters fuck next" kinda way. In a really awkward "what does this have to do with anything" kinda way. To illustrate this, I've come up with a few examples of what a normal fiction passage may look like, next to how Neil Jordan might write the same passage.

Normal Passage:

"It was then on his deathbed that he realized how much he loved the girl, his only daughter, and as they held hands he knew she would one day become a kind woman in spite of his absence."

Neil Jordan Version:

"It was then on his deathbed that he realized how much he loved the girl, his only daughter, and as he saw her growing breasts he knew she would one day be a woman. And like all other women she would find that after years of dancing at the town pub for any and all sexual attention, her eyes would soon show the deadness that he was about to feel in mere moments."

Normal Passage:

"The boy rode the horse on the beach."

Neil Jordan Version:

"The boy rode the horse on the beach, fully erect."

You get the idea. Dude likes to color his commentary with unnecessary filth flarn filth. And the few times when it's NOT unnecessary, it's usually because the entire story itself is about awkward sex.

The book also contains the original screenplay of The Crying Game, which I skipped partly because I've already seen the movie, but mostly because I'm not Brian fuckin' Grazer. What do I need with a screenplay? When I read a story I don't wanna know where the camera pans, followed by 8 pages of straight dialogue.

Sandman exits room.

Blog page slowly fades to black, with Danny Elfman score.


Mike Strusz said...

I tend not to finish books I'm not enjoying, even if I'm making a goal like this.

Say, Independent Reading season is back in bloom in my English class.

I told the kids if they want an A+ they need to read more than I do. This gives way for ample trash talking between myself and a bunch of teenage readers. It's a good time.

Sandman said...

It takes a lot for me to stop reading a book in the middle of it. Sometimes it takes a while for a writer's style or rhythm to grow on me, so I like to give it a chance. I always use the example of Cormac McCarthy, cuz the first hundred pages of Blood Meridian were really hard to wrap my head around the first time I read it. Now it's one of my favorite books, I've read all of his work, and the imagery from that book is still some of the most vivid in my mind from any book I've ever read. So unless a writer is just a blatant hack, I'll finish most anything I start.

Anyway like I said, Jordan isn't a horrible writer by any means. Just wasn't my cup of tea.

瘋狂 said...


rainbowlens said...

It's also really hard for me to not finish a book once I've started even if I hate it.

Normal Passage:

"The boy rode the horse on the beach."

Neil Jordan Version:

"The boy rode the horse on the beach, fully erect."

*in tears*