Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Finally, a novel we can feel conflicted about and avoid finishing


As the self-appointed board of directors for Venom Literati, I have to take the hopes and wishes of the people in mind when I force you to read some new book which you will like but feel guilty about liking with such abandon. I listen to the people. And the people are so tired of being pleased; they want to dislike some things. So I propose we read Chris Adrian’s 700 million page book The Children’s Hospital in this, the season of novels the same thickness as the snow drifts (Don’t worry, there’s more clumsy figurative language to come in this book! There’s one particularly cringe-worthy metaphor about a peeled banana).

Here are my reasons why you will feel happily conflicted about this book.

1. The author went to Iowa, and it clearly ruined him.

2. The point-of-view is very workshoppy, with sections in first and a close yet annoyingly knowing third-person. The first-person section is narrated by an extremely stupid angel voice. I’d suggest skipping all of that.

3. It is too large to read anywhere but balanced in your lap above an electric blanket.

4. I’m a sucker for hospital novels (Lanark, Secret Rendezvous). If you skip the first-person sections, there’s some dialogue that’s not bad, not bad.

5. At least it’s not Proust.

6. I’ve only read about 100 pages. I don’t really know what else.

10 comments:

Sarah said...

That sounds awful! I'm definitely up for it. I love whining about books.

flabby-abby1973 said...

yes. more whining about books at our meetings so I can get totally wasted and fall asleep while you guys read super-long passages from a book I didn't read. or a book I tried to read but I kept getting totally wasted and falling asleep cause it was sooooo long and boring.

Sarah said...

Wait a second. Do children die in this book? I don't like it when children or animals die.

Meghan said...

The children live. Everyone else dies.

Meghan said...

Also, I should point out that this book is much too heavy to carry to a bar, so you will be forced to memorize your favorite passages and recite them in your favorite dramatic voice.

Sarah said...

Oh, that's good. I'll do anything for that. There is a protest going on outside my writing room window, and it sounds like they're chanting, "Stop Epic Domain!" I don't know what they're saying. They need signs.

Kathy said...

clearly i am not going to read this book.

clearly.

i will read another book and talk about during our meeting as though it is this book.

Megan said...

I will also read another book and pretend it is this book. I won't read a novel that is more than 400 pages. Kathy, do you want to read Love in the Time of Cholera with me? I scavenged the shelves of Borders last night for a copy without Oprah's big O on the cover.

Kathy said...

oh gross that book sounds awful too! what's wrong with the literati?

i am reading part of the world by robert lopez. i can pretend it's love in the time of cholera and whatever the name of that hospital book is. i will do it for you, literati. as long as there are cigarettes and megan martin i will do almost anything.

Sarah said...

Um, Kathy. Do you remember that we quit smoking on Sunday?