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Julian Barnes
Topic Started: Jul 17 2008, 10:22 AM (3,453 Views)
byrd9999
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byrd is the wyrd
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mandm
Jan 27 2012, 04:08 AM
Speaking of de Botton

Utter vapid fool.
*shrug*

I don't know if it's just because it's friday, but i can't get beyond apathy in this, either for or against him. I feel disengaged from the whole thing. Especially if it's happening in London.
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mandm
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Oh come on, get angry about it, it'll fire you up for the weekend.
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nnyhav
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bringing Barnes back into it
http://crookedtimber.org/2012/01/27/an-atheist-temple/#comment-399397
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Geoff Dyer does not like the book. Oh no.. He's not wrong.

Quote:
 
The paucity of action gives Tony ample opportunity to reflect on — and enact — the self-serving and self-deceiving workings of memory. “Again, I must stress that this is my reading now of what happened then. Or rather, my memory now of my reading then of what was happening at the time, ” Tony declares in one of several reiterations of the book’s central ideas.

These ideas might better be termed commonplaces. But while commonplaces tend to dress themselves up in their Sunday best to assume greater weight, Barnes has always treated them lightly so that, by a kind of negation of the negation, they are taken . . . seriously! (Note Barnes’s pre-emptive body swerve: announced early on, one of Adrian’s pet aversions is “the way the English have of not being serious about being serious.”)



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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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marmalade modernist
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Obviously people commit suicide, for a variety of reasons, but in fiction they tend to do so primarily in the service of authorial convenience. And convenience invariably becomes a near-anagram of contrivance

Exactly, but also sometimes things happen to characters and in order that the author can be seen to retain dignity and identity as author in the service of wholehearted fiction/enquiry. Which is when it can become really nasty, viz Atonement. Barnes hardly seems capable of even that, and the "pause - negate - pause - negate = serious mediation" is the fictional sibling of de Botton's philosophical enquiries
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
Jan 31 2012, 08:15 PM
Obviously people commit suicide
Ha.



also, very annoyed to see people in the book tournament praise this book for its 'insights'. wtf is wrong with you people. ughhhh.
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Flower
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The reason for comitting suicide is not given in the novel. The assumptions is all in the reader's head which has caused some negative reviews.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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i'm a bit tired of the way that disability still gets to be colonized in fiction, but only a bit, because i'm so used to it by now. It takes a good deal to make me angry, and i suspect the barnes book might make me a bit angry, since he seems to be speculating in a currency of fear, aside from anything else
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Flower
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
Apr 5 2012, 12:22 AM
i'm a bit tired of the way that disability still gets to be colonized in fiction, but only a bit, because i'm so used to it by now. It takes a good deal to make me angry, and i suspect the barnes book might make me a bit angry, since he seems to be speculating in a currency of fear, aside from anything else
I actually think he is doing a great job in getting people to think about what they have actually read and their assumptions and the difference between the two. Also questioning how you would react to disability without forcing anything down the reader's throat.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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i think there are probably better ways to engage with, present disability in fiction as something besides a means of exploration for a not terribly thoughtful or gifted non disabled writer, but there you go, :) and as i've said before, if it is all in the reader'ss head, it might be because Barnes can afford to be sure of his economy of means; long established banks of imageries and so forth
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Flower
Apr 5 2012, 12:30 AM
oneofmurphysbiscuits
Apr 5 2012, 12:22 AM
i'm a bit tired of the way that disability still gets to be colonized in fiction, but only a bit, because i'm so used to it by now. It takes a good deal to make me angry, and i suspect the barnes book might make me a bit angry, since he seems to be speculating in a currency of fear, aside from anything else
I actually think he is doing a great job in getting people to think about what they have actually read and their assumptions and the difference between the two. Also questioning how you would react to disability without forcing anything down the reader's throat.
I think, maybe, this reading is because you are the owner of a much more pleasant mind than Barnes', I think you're reading him generously, witha degree of generosity he maybe doesn't deserve (as I said above, I'll largely reserve judgment until I read his nonfiction thing), because despite the open end, the book makes very definite use of disability. Regardless of how you and I would react to disability, formally, Barnes' novel uses disability as a lynchpin for the development of the narrator. Again, all this varies depending on how much you trust the narrator etc., and how much is imagined etc., but the mere formal fact, undeniable, of the use of disability as a great revelation that carries the weight of personal epiphany for the (white, male, able) narrator, this is unpleasant. Well, it is for me. It's not about Barnes' or the narrator's general attitude to disabled people, it's about the formal and structural colonizing of a certain kind of otherness that doesn't sit well with me. Again, maybe it's just me. I'm weird.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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As described the book appears to be a piece of brutish opportunism, Lone. It would be lovely if people read, thought, for the purpose of illumination, insight, but better still if people would stop treating "us" as though our best purpose in life is to provide "them" with a) an educational experience, or b) a set of liberating/intractable metaphors with which they might explore/forgive/antagonize their own humanity. It's dull, greedy and too cheaply bought. :)
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Flower
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
Apr 5 2012, 06:21 AM
As described the book appears to be a piece of brutish opportunism, Lone. It would be lovely if people read, thought, for the purpose of illumination, insight, but better still if people would stop treating "us" as though our best purpose in life is to provide "them" with a) an educational experience, or b) a set of liberating/intractable metaphors with which they might explore/forgive/antagonize their own humanity. It's dull, greedy and too cheaply bought. :)
Well I do not agree with you on this novel, Sharon. Have you read it by the way? I seem to recall you had not read it at the beginning of the discussion.....

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Flower
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Canox
Apr 5 2012, 05:28 AM
Flower
Apr 5 2012, 12:30 AM
oneofmurphysbiscuits
Apr 5 2012, 12:22 AM
i'm a bit tired of the way that disability still gets to be colonized in fiction, but only a bit, because i'm so used to it by now. It takes a good deal to make me angry, and i suspect the barnes book might make me a bit angry, since he seems to be speculating in a currency of fear, aside from anything else
I actually think he is doing a great job in getting people to think about what they have actually read and their assumptions and the difference between the two. Also questioning how you would react to disability without forcing anything down the reader's throat.
I think, maybe, this reading is because you are the owner of a much more pleasant mind than Barnes', I think you're reading him generously, witha degree of generosity he maybe doesn't deserve (as I said above, I'll largely reserve judgment until I read his nonfiction thing), because despite the open end, the book makes very definite use of disability. Regardless of how you and I would react to disability, formally, Barnes' novel uses disability as a lynchpin for the development of the narrator. Again, all this varies depending on how much you trust the narrator etc., and how much is imagined etc., but the mere formal fact, undeniable, of the use of disability as a great revelation that carries the weight of personal epiphany for the (white, male, able) narrator, this is unpleasant. Well, it is for me. It's not about Barnes' or the narrator's general attitude to disabled people, it's about the formal and structural colonizing of a certain kind of otherness that doesn't sit well with me. Again, maybe it's just me. I'm weird.
I cannot see that Barnes uses disability as a lynch pin as you put it, Marcel?
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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i havent yet, although i probably will read the book before long, Lone. I've read one pretty closely-argued negative review, besides those linked and posted here if it so happens that i disagree with it, i'll certainly say so, but that doesn't seem a likely prospect as of now
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Flower
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I actually think that somehow this topic among the many in the book has hit a nerve in you, Marcel! There are another suicide in the book, there are lots of other topics.
And the narrator assumes so many things when it turns out that he knew very little about his friend's life, even when they were together in school and even more so when they left.
To me Barnes, makes this stupid narrator showing us how we humans contruct our memory/the story of our life and in this the reader gets this idea about a negative view of disabled people. To me Barnes is doing the disabled good cause he forces the readers to consider how they view their lives, what assumptions they have etc. just like the narrator does about his friend. And if the reader actually took some time reflecting they might end up realising just how little they know and how much they assume. This is done without Barnes forcing it down our throats and I like that.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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i think i've sampled enough of the ridiculous Tony as deployed by Barnes (i read enough of the prose to get a sense (!) of Barnes' calculation as to tone, and Tony) and i again read the epiphany bit and if anything it's worse than i remember. Nothing to be done

He might also - like Singer - be playing the divide and rule riff as to different kinds of disability, i hope not because as written the novel is bad enough.
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byrd9999
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And to think Barnes does all of the above in a mere 150 pages of functional prose! I don't see The Sisters Brothers, for example, causing anything like the amount of literary discussion as The Sense of an Ending has done, so maybe it is deserving of its Booker prize (above those others shortlisted that year) for this reason?
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Flower
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
Apr 5 2012, 04:58 PM
i think i've sampled enough of the ridiculous Tony as deployed by Barnes (i read enough of the prose to get a sense (!) of Barnes' calculation as to tone, and Tony) and i again read the epiphany bit and if anything it's worse than i remember. Nothing to be done

He might also - like Singer - be playing the divide and rule riff as to different kinds of disability, i hope not because as written the novel is bad enough.
It puzzles me why some people react to the son being disabled cause Barnes does not say anything negative about his life. For all we know the son is having a good life with his friends and caretakers. To me Barnes is really doing the disabled something good, when the readers make these negative assumptions about why the father commited suicide as then they are caught up in their own negative assumptions about disabled people and the life they can lead which by the way are of course as different as everybody else's lives.
I think some people do not like to be confronted in this somewhat cunning way but I like it. I would say 'well done with only 150 pages!' :)
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Flower
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byrd9999
Apr 5 2012, 09:05 PM
And to think Barnes does all of the above in a mere 150 pages of functional prose! I don't see The Sisters Brothers, for example, causing anything like the amount of literary discussion as The Sense of an Ending has done, so maybe it is deserving of its Booker prize (above those others shortlisted that year) for this reason?
I couldn't say as I have not read the other books which were shortlisted.
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