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27 November 2008 @ 08:58 pm
you know what's gross? SUGAR ON YOUR TEETH  
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, by M.T. Anderson

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but they never mentioned nuffin about the pages. All crumbly and serrated like they'd been split with a knife! (Which they hadn't been, obviously. AND YET.)

Also: spoilers up the wazoo.


'When Syracuse fell,' Dr Trefusis offered, 'Archimedes the engineer did not flee, but even as he was run through with a sword, sat in his own house, working out geometric equations with a stick in the sand. His last words were, "You may attack my head, but stay away from my circles.'"

This is the only time I laughed all the way through, and that's not even HIS line.

cacata charta - shitty paper

Some Latin what I learned.

A man in a topiary maze cannot judge of the twistings and turnings, and which avenue might lead him to the heart; while one who stands above, on some pleasant prospect, looking down upon the labyrinth, is reduced to watching the bewildered circumnavigations of the tiny victim through obvious coils - as the gods, perhaps, looked on besieged and bloodstained Troy from the safety of their couches, and thought mortals weak and foolish while they themselves reclined in comfort, and had only to snap to call Ganymede to their side with nectar decanted.

I was so utterly blown away by the MIND-NUMBING PRETENTIOUS IDIOCY of this paragraph that I read it out to my friends in the lecture hall. (Not, mind you, while a lecture was ongoing, although I certainly read read books in such cases.) I'm not sure what I'm most pissed off by, although I'd wager it's 'nectar decanted.' Not just any nectar, noooooooo, but DECANTED nectar, you guys.

The point is - THE POINT IS - this passage actually SAYS NOTHING. It basically means: you don't know what's going to happen in life. WELL NOW, THERE'S A SURPRISE. It also has nothing to do with the plot in general. Octavian has a crap life, but he's a slave in Revolutionary War America; that's hardly news. As I told my friends, this is what happens when you write on auto-pilot. Faced with a sucking blank screen, UTTER TRIPE RESULTS.

The story gets somewhat more interesting about halfway through. (Rather, a story starts to happen.) The mystery of who Octavian is becomes demystified pretty early on. His mother's character I never bought for an instant. When she dies and IS DISSECTED, well, that was pretty powerful. And the whole bit at the end makes me want to find out what happens, but not hugely so. I'd live if I didn't, that kind of way.

Rating: meh/10.

Previously, on Book Glomp 2008:
Middlemarch | Invisible Monsters | A Thousand Splendid Suns | Love in the Time of Cholera | Oscar and Lucinda | Kim | Breakfast at Tiffany's | Atonement | To the Lighthouse | On the Road | Brideshead Revisited | Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance | Bonjour Tristesse | A Passage to India | Three Men in a Boat | Vile Bodies | Prozac Nation | The Heart of the Matter | Jinx; Airhead | Doomsday Book | The Gum Thief | Choke | The Stone Gods | Beauty | Before They Are Hanged
Current Mood: sicksick
Current Music: angry kids of the world unite (tiger tunes)
high and mighty mansplaining robotrimestock on November 28th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
heyyyy so you ... might remember me as kentraine ...

The other day I was looking through my memories and found you and realized, late, that I couldn't remember why the hell I'd removed you from my flist ever, so uh. I added you back!

Hope that's cool. :D
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Marie Antoinettescoradh on November 30th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
No problemo, dude!
on a yellow spaceship: dodoo_glorianna on December 3rd, 2008 02:42 am (UTC)
I am aghast at your obviously inadequate appreciation of this piece of literary brilliance. That solitary paragraph that you have had the gall to quote makes me swoon with utter, overwhelming delight, and yet you ridicule it for its supposed pomposity!

...I was going to write more to parody the author, but regurgitating tripe (even when it's your own) is hard work. I can't imagine having to read it. :D This book sounds just *thrilling*. Not.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: converse prettyscoradh on December 5th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
Fortunately the author cops on and busts out the plot about halfway through ... but still, PAINFUL.