“I ain’t takin’ you for no kid,” answered Potter. His heels had not moved an inch backward. “I’m takin’ you for a damn fool. I tell you I ain’t got a gun, and I ain’t. If you’re goin’ to shoot me up, you better begin now. You’ll never get a chance like this again.”
Imagine Pope Benedict’s goal
In announcing his long years’ harsh toll –
The whole conclave, the smoke –
Was to set up one joke
From the window: ‘Habetis ********!’
Dear Korrektiv Konsumers, I humbly ask that you go forth and buy or steal this book…
And then write all kinds of nice things about it in the reviews… A beer in it for you! OK, fine! The cocktail of your choice and grilled steak!
(But you have to come to Wisconsin to claim them!)
… if listening to the audio books (The Sporstwriter and Independence Day so far) counts as reading. (Does it? In the grand Reading Olympics of life, does listening to the book count the same as “reading” the book? Can I say, “I’ve been reading Richard Ford lately” if I’ve actually only been listening to Richard Ford being read?) Anyway, you Percy fans may recall Mr. Ford from his (and his Mississippi drawl’s) prominence in the Walker Percy documentary. Ford is like a Percy that never quite grabbed aholt of faith and The Sportswriter is like The Moviegoer without Kierkegaard or Catholicism — but with something fundamental and bemused and piercing and good all the same.
C’mon in, the reading’s fine! (Still plenty of books to review!)
About a month ago, I finished reading Dr Percy’s stab at science-fiction, Love in the Ruins. I had no time to blog about it then, and have little time to blog about it at the moment, but here are a few scattered, superficial, spoiler-free initial thoughts:
- My overall impression was similar to that of Korrektiv fellow-traveler Craig Burrell, who reviewed the novel in 2011. Like him, I think the premise is great, but the telling of the tale is overlong and under-focused. Some severe trimming would have improved the book considerably.
- That said, the main cast is nicely drawn, and the creeper-covered neo-New South setting felt, if not believably realistic, then persuasively consistent. Also consistently unsettling, with its islands of shiny modernity and pockets of old poverty amid the ruins of the [1940s-1960s(?) '70s(?)] ‘Auto Age’. The automated carillon of the abandoned church in the middle of nowhere, playing religious and secular Christmas carols — and college football fight songs! — on the Fourth of July, echoing off a derelict drive-in movie screen, is especially haunting.
- Overall, the book was not — and Dr Percy, in his essay ‘Concerning Love in the Ruins‘, says the book was not meant to be — a prophetic prediction of the future (as, e.g., Brave New World has ended up being). Still, this line from Dr Tom More, describing the gadgets of his own shambolic future-world, hit close to home: ‘Appliances [...] are more splendid than ever before, but when they break down nobody will fix them.’
- Percy also predicted the rise of steampunk! Tom More climbs into his colleague’s ‘electric Toyota bubbletop, a great black saucer of a car and silent as a hearse’ and notes the anachronistic contrast of its interior styling: ‘These days it is the fashion to do car interiors in wood and brass like Jules Verne vehicles.’
- Speaking of stylistic throwbacks: The diabolical, deodorized, flat-topped Art Immelman reminds me of the Harry Trumanesque space alien from the ‘THE LAST DONAHUE SHOW’ thought experiment in Lost in the Cosmos. They both seem like good fits for a David Lynch movie.
Have you read Love in the Ruins? What did you see, like, dislike, feel, think?
Thrill me with your acumen.