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Total posts: [170]  1  2  3
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J.K. Rowling's new novel: "The Casual Vacancy":

 76 Benluke, Thu, 27th Sep '12 11:03:53 PM from United States
Some guy.
I have yet to see someone write an explicit sex scene well, which is why no one should attempt it.
But A Song of Ice and Fire needs some sort of comics relieve besides Tyron.tongue

. . .Is that feed even actual parts of the book? If so, wow. . .

edited 27th Sep '12 11:04:31 PM by Benluke

Pronounced YAK-you-luss
[up]Yep, requireshate's posts are direct quotes, except where she's obviously commenting on what she's reading.
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 78 De Marquis, Fri, 28th Sep '12 12:39:05 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Got the book, am holding it right now. Just read the first 10 pages. Happy to report that, sex tweets notwithstanding, so far this isn't bad. Here are some samples:

"Mary softened and smiled, so Barry had telephoned the golf club, because it was nearby and they were sure of getting a table. He tried to give his wife pleasure in little ways, because he had come to realize, after nearly two decades together, how often he disappointed her in the big things."

"Then pain such as he had never experienced sliced through his brain like a demolition ball. he barely noticed the smarting of this knees as they smacked into the cold tarmac; his skull was awash with fire and blood; the agony was excruciating beyond endurance, except that endure it he must, for oblivion was still a minute away."

"Even as they discussed what they had been forced to witness, each trying to drive out vague feelings of fright and shock, feathery little ripples of excitement had tickled Miles' insides at the thought of delivering the news to his father. He dad intended to wait until seven, but fear that somebody else might beat him to it had propelled him to the telephone early."

"Samantha noticed how Miles' second version emphasized what you might call the more commercial aspects of the story. Samantha did not blame him. Their reward for enduring the awful experience was the right to tell people about it."

And on like that. Pretty good characterizations, I think. She's basically pinioning suburbanites. A bit like the Dursleys written large (oops, I just compared it to HP- sorry!).
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 79 ryzvonusef, Fri, 28th Sep '12 1:07:58 PM from Pakistan Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Start troping, people!: The Casual Vacancy

edited 28th Sep '12 1:08:38 PM by ryzvonusef

 80 Medicus, Fri, 28th Sep '12 4:01:47 PM from Australia
Sierra 117
[up][up]Oh dear, so many commas.

I take back my comment about it not being a socialist manifesto, holy shit.
It's not over. Not yet.
 81 Benluke, Fri, 28th Sep '12 4:46:43 PM from United States
 82 Medicus, Fri, 28th Sep '12 4:48:43 PM from Australia
Sierra 117
Unconnected to the commas. Been reading some reviews.
It's not over. Not yet.
 83 De Marquis, Fri, 28th Sep '12 6:33:09 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Page 20. It's definately anti-bourgeois, but there's nothing socialist in it so far as I can see.

edited 28th Sep '12 6:34:01 PM by DeMarquis

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 84 Bur, Fri, 28th Sep '12 9:15:59 PM from Flyover Country Relationship Status: Not war
Commas... Mom told me never to trust them. And Dad made me promise never to date any.
 85 cityofmist, Sat, 29th Sep '12 2:43:22 AM from Meanwhile City
turning and turning
Based on those quotes, I have a very bad impression of the writing. I know nobody reads JK Rowling for her beautiful prose, but Jesus Christ.
Scepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.
- Clarence Darrow
 86 Medicus, Sat, 29th Sep '12 2:50:58 AM from Australia
Sierra 117
The worst part is it's gotten worse since the first Harry Potter novel.
It's not over. Not yet.
 87 cityofmist, Sat, 29th Sep '12 2:54:28 AM from Meanwhile City
turning and turning
I know. I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books in ages but I remember the style as being boring but reasonably inoffensive. This on the other hand is intrusively awful.
Scepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.
- Clarence Darrow
 88 De Marquis, Sat, 29th Sep '12 10:04:17 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Really? I think her characterizations are sensitive and complex. I'm up to page 30 now. She has devoted all thirty to introducing new characters- different "types" who live in this village. Here are some more samples to discuss:

An abusive father and husband: "Simon took two stamping steps toward his wife. Ruth shrank back against the sink. The pink plastic brush fell out of Paul's hand. "I'm not going to fund the little fucker's filthy habit! Fucking cheek of him, puffing away in my fucking shed!" Simon hit himself on the chest on the word "my"; the dull thunk made Ruth wince. "I was bringing home a salary when I was that spotty little shit's age. If he wants fags, he can pay for them himself, all right? All right? "

My favorite character so far- Shirley, a very English middle aged woman: "None of the delight frothing and fizzing inside Shirley had been apparent while Howard had been in the room. They had merely exchanged the comments proper to sudden death before he had taken himself off to the shower. Naturally Shirley had known, as they slid stock words and phrases back and forth between them like beads on an abacus, that Howard must have be as brimful of ecstasy as she was; but to express these feelings out loud, when the news of the death was still fresh in the air, would have been tantamount to dancing naked and shrieking obscenities, and Howard and Shirley were clothed, as always, in an invisible layer of decorum that they never laid aside."

The first "sex" scene, involving Gavan, a friend of the dead Barry, and Kay, his middle aged girlfriend: "Too late, he had realized that she was taking this uncharacteristic act of assertion as a tacit confession of those things he was determined to avoid saying. She had kissed him greedily; he had found her wet intrusive kisses erotic when the affair began, now he found them vaguely repellent. He took a long time to climax, his horror at what he had started constantly threatening to deflate his erection. Even this worked against him: she seemed to take his unusual stamina as a display of virtuosity."

As you can tell, this is pretty cynical stuff. Pretty much everybody is either pathetic or objectionable. Very nearly the only character with any admirable or redeeming qualities at all is the elder son of the abusive father, Andrew, who has fallen in love with the new girl at school: "He heard light, rapid footsteps coming closer, and then she was there; she had sat down right next to him. She nudged his chair, her body moving his. His nostrils caught a whisper of perfume. The whole of the left side of his body was burning with awareness of her, and he was grateful that the cheek nearest her was much less acne-ridden than the right. He had never been this close to her and wondered whether he dared look at her, make some sign of recognition; but immediately decided that he had been paralyzed too long, and that it was too late to do so naturally."

The plot so far is very simple- a member of the local governing council has died, and now everyone with an agenda is going to jockey and maneuver to take it over for themselves of one of their friends. That's just a thin excuse to spend pages describing various individuals' character flaws. If you like that sort of thing, it's good, if not, then not.

I will say it strikes me as a very British approach to writing. If I have one criticism, it's that Rowling is trying too hard to make her public school as unlike Hogwarts as possible. The building is ugly, the adults are ineffectual and disrespected, the children almost entirely lacking in empathy for others. I think some people will consider this just too depressing to read. I predict it will have a relatively happy ending though.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 89 cityofmist, Sat, 29th Sep '12 10:31:25 AM from Meanwhile City
turning and turning
I wasn't referring to the characterisation. I haven't read the book and characterisation isn't something that can be gleaned from quotes. I was referring to the writing style, which can be, and - going by the quotes provided - is terrible.
Scepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.
- Clarence Darrow
 90 Aondeug, Sat, 29th Sep '12 10:38:14 AM from  Our Dreams
Oh My
I've always found it charming myself for whatever reason. Terrible it may be, but it's a sort of terrible that I like to read. Still don't have this book. May once I hawk off lots of crap on Monday.
If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
Three-Puppet Saluter
I've always liked Rowling's writing style, and she's kept that up, but five character introductions in, with all characters except Andrew suffering from a bad case of Literary Ennui and even Andrew not terribly interesting, I'm probably going to end up calling it her Fast Cars and hope she does something with an exciting story and likable characters next time. But I'll give it to the end of the Monday section.
Hail Martin Septim!
IOU one title
Is it the most British book ever written? Summaries of it make it sound like the most British book ever written.
 93 Bur, Sat, 29th Sep '12 7:12:33 PM from Flyover Country Relationship Status: Not war
It sounds nothing like my mother, one of the most British people ever, so I'd have to say no.

Unless we're going for "most modern-British thing ever". which case, maybe.
 94 Yuanchosaan, Sat, 29th Sep '12 8:00:28 PM from Australia Relationship Status:
antic disposition
I maintain that it sounds like Midsomer Murders.
"Doctor Who means never having to say you're kidding." - Bocaj
Three-Puppet Saluter
Okay, I couldn't finish the Monday section without looking at the reviews first, and the reviews, praise or damn, are all saying there's no respite worth mentioning: it's just needlessly bleak and needlessly gritty and soul-dead in all respects. If Mark Steyn manages to get a pithy phrase about the Decline of Western Civilization out of this, it will be the most enjoyable part of the experience. No, thank you.

edited 30th Sep '12 5:35:02 AM by DomaDoma

Hail Martin Septim!
 96 deathpigeon, Sun, 30th Sep '12 5:48:16 AM from Bread, It Is Bread that the Revolution Needs! Relationship Status: One True Dodecahedron
Kaspar the Friendly Spook
...So it's a Socialist Manifesto that's bleak and grim the whole way through and has tons of characters. Has someone been reading my Christmas List?

edited 30th Sep '12 5:48:42 AM by deathpigeon

My Blog.


"The great are great only because we are on our knees. Let us rise." - Max Stirner
Three-Puppet Saluter
If, when you say "tons of characters", you're expecting any characters a fraction as engaging as George R.R. Martin's, I'll just deflate that right now. Even in Westeros, people have hopes and dreams. Not here.
Hail Martin Septim!
 98 De Marquis, Wed, 3rd Oct '12 11:02:52 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
I haven't finished it yet, but apparently not everyone is a bastard.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
Three-Puppet Saluter
Sure. Some people are just devoid of hope.
Hail Martin Septim!
 100 JHM, Thu, 4th Oct '12 4:17:07 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
The excerpts are pretty wonky prose-wise, but I kind of like where she goes with the way her characters think. Of course, that was the primary strength of the Potter books as well.
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