Wednesday, February 28, 2007

In which your narrator leaves for an hour and finds himself right where he was without realizing it


Did I mention I started a new job last week? I started a new job last week. The long unemployment run finally came to an end when I decided that my desire to be a free-wheeling artistic town vagabond couldn't stand up against my desire to, well, eat. I like eating. I like eating a lot, actually. Dieting half of last year? That was stupid. See, I find that I'm a far happier starving artist when I've got a belly full of expensive food in me. No no, good sir! I shall not be ordering from the $0.99 Value Menu today, oh no! Give me nothing but your finest chicken nuggets! The ones that come plated in solid gold!

So combine my sudden re-emergence into the daylight with a general ennui toward all things Internet (wake me up when "bloggers" can be called "people" again, you know, like they used to be called before 2002 rolled around) and then toss in my fervent desire to immediately convince myself that having a day job will make writing daily a far more maintainable routine than it was when I had all the time in the world to fart around all day staring out the window while wondering how I'd dress up my evening's ramen ("...things that offer the most instant rewards when I do them every day, but which I have the hardest time actually being consistent about..."? Oh, gods yes, Gwenda, do I know what you mean), and what you wind up with is a sharp, but hardly permanent, decrease in the general sex appeal of the staff here at TDAOC HQ. (Hey! Nike! Coke! Microsoft! Bitches, sponsor me, already! I will make you famous. Famous.)


I'll pause here, in the "dinner after writing and before reading" portion of the evening, to let you know where I landed since I finished Half of a Yellow Sun: I'm now halfway through The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro. I'm not sure why it made sense to pick that book up at this particular time, but I can tell you why reading the book makes sense to me now, a sense I doubt it ever could have made to me back when I read it in high school (and hated it--I'm sure I've mentioned that about 500 times in this blog's archives): this book is often hysterical. I haven't read enough reviews of his stuff to know for sure what the critical consensus is about his work (I mean, other than that everybody agrees with me that Kazuo Ishiguro is fucking awesome), but I think he might be sort of under-recognized as one of the greatest deadpan comic geniuses ever. Maybe--I don't know. I'm just some guy, you know? But damn, this book is just hilarious sometimes.

Still, I don't get it. I don't really know what the hell he's trying to do with this book. I mean, I get a lot more than I did when I read it when I was 15 or 16 or whatever. I get that there's humor here and I get that there's also this incredibly curious sense of dread that seethes beneath the surface of the story, this profound sense of dislocation, a very real feeling of having left some important task undone but without realizing that the task has been left undone. (Remains of the Day, anybody?) But I'm often just so bloody mystified by the thing I wonder if I'm not completely underthinking (or overthinking) everything I think about it. Maybe. Really, I don't know.

What I do know is I like it a lot more this time through. It feels very fitting right now, refreshing in its own way. Ishiguro's prose, serving any end, I'm convinced, is some of the finest prose out there. It's like, I don't know, super tasty, perfectly chilled water. Or something.


Roman numeral'ed sections in blog posts are like caps lock on Instant Messenger: cruise control for awesome.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's what I was saying back in December! The Unconsoled is really hilarious in parts, and then you're like, God, that was funny, but I still don't really get it! I have one Ishiguro left to go, When We Were Orphans. Maybe I'll pick that up soon. That guy better write another one soon!

Barking Kitten said...

Have not read any I a worm or what?

Or maybe I'm just too busy with my day job? Have I mentioned I hate my day job?

Enjoy them McN's.

Darby M. Dixon III said...

Fusis: There are portions of WWWO that will make a strange sort of sense, having read them in the context of having already read The Unconsoled. Things that I was like "What the what?" when I read it and then I saw an interview with Ishiguro and he was like "Well it's like this" and I was like "Oh! Oh! Okay!" and so now I'm reading TU and I'm like, wow, I need to re-read WWWO. So.

Though I should read his first two books first, which I haven't done yet, because I am a louse.

BK: Get thee to a bookstore! Or a library. Or to the unemployment office right after you get yourself laid off so you can have a nice long comfy block of time to read. Whichever is easiest.

Anonymous said...

I am reading WWWO right now, having felt totally ambivalent toward Middlesex (though I think it'll make a good read later on). I'm not very far, but thanks for the perspective.

So, I should probably read an interview with Ishiguro talking about TU. It has stayed with me so much longer than NLMG. I think I had read something to the effect of describing the narrator as having mental illness? Any thoughts? I guess you may blog about it after you're done. I look forward to it if you're up to it.