labingi: (Default)
I need to do an update, so here is some stuff.

* I finish reading Pale Fire. Pale Fire is to the Russian Revolution as Slaughterhouse 5 is to the firebombing of Dresden.

* Speaking of getting unstuck in time, I also watched The Fountain, which is a very good and interesting movie about coping with death. And very pretty and a bit historical and science fictiony. I have little to say against it except that Isabella (in the 16th century plotline) falls flat (but she's mostly symbolic anyway). And there is a certain amount of race fail, combined, however, with a genuine interest in non-Western traditions, which mitigates it, I think. The rest is lovely.

* Having seen the Blade of the Immortal anime, I am now catching up on bits of the manga. I doubt I will read the series in toto, but what I am falling in love with, I'm falling for hard. At first, I was a bit blown away that every single person in MoB fandom seems to be a fan of BotI too, but the more I see, the more it makes perfect sense. These stories--despite coming from different media, being aimed at different audiences, having different tones, and accomplishing different things--are of the same soul, which leads me to ask, has anyone (in English) crossed them over? And if not, why not?

* Speaking of MoB, I did catch up on vol. 22 (prologue-ch. 2) and have only been very quiet about it because it didn't do much for me. Part of it I'd read already (Naoe and Irobe, which is nice.) I was expecting more about Nagahide and was, thus, a bit disappointed not to get it. I find the Red Whales a bit dull (or, to take responsibility, have not invested the time in getting to know their panoply of characters), but I did enjoy Takaya bonding with the boy who reminded him of Miya.

* Rewatched some M*A*S*H. It remains one of the best TV series ever made, full stop. It also strikes me that Hawkeye is a pretty direct ancestor of Boston Legal's Alan Shore.

* I have also been watching two other shows I'm keeping mum about: Doctor Who series 5 and The House of Five Leaves. Both are interesting me, but I want to wait till they've ended to make my final assessment.

Nabokov

May. 8th, 2010 03:09 pm
labingi: (ivan)
I have been reading a lot of Nabokov lately, and think I have enough now to fix on why--though he is very, very good--he will never be one of my favorites. What is most compelling for me about narrative is the emotional force of psychologically realistic characters' love for each other, and despite the dazzling variety of his works, Nabokov seems to eschew this mode. His stories repeatedly meditate on emotional distance. People love--but through a glass darkly. Their default state seems to be encasement within their own minds. This places Nabokov squarely in the 20th-century Modern/postmodern tradition: alienation, confusion, isolation, etc. It may be paradigmatic of 20th-century (literary) experience, but for me, it disregards so much of what is human.

Some examples... )

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