IJ quotes of the day 44

“Gately shrugs at the Nucks like he’s got no choice but to be here” (611).

Oh, Don. Of all the mythological pathos. Really? For Lenz? I haven’t read a character in a long time that I actually believed was a damned fine human being.

While we’re at it, in the damned fine human being category, I need to address what I feel is the book’s most important (spoiler-line-limited) line. Sorry to all the Infinite Summer participants who’ve seen this from me on the forum. But in light of the novel’s purpose for locating a post-postmodernism in the heart of something anti-ironic and genuine and human and painfully real, and in light of This is Water and the Kenyon commencement, 592 strikes me as intensely important.

“The older Mario gets, the more confused he gets about the fact that everyone at E.T.A. over the age of about Kent Blott finds stuff that’s really real uncomfortable and they get embarrassed. it’s like there’s some rule that real stuff can only get mentioned if everybody rolls their eyes or laughs in a way that isn’t happy” (592).

Between Gately’s honesty about hitting his knees every night to beg the ceiling for something because he can’t believe in anything but the ritual and Mario’s transcendental human beauty, I am even more moved by this novel the second time than I was the first. Because the drugs and the Entertainment and the tennis and the horrible demappings are all secondary to the intensely important project of moving beyond poststructuralist dehumanizing Lacanian Derridean postmodern posing into art that is, at its core, a beating heart.

5 thoughts on “IJ quotes of the day 44

  1. So true. And beautifully expressed. To put it (way too) oversimply: the smartest and most creative foax in this book are often the most damaged. Not that the uneducated or dull aren’t suffering, it just seems DFW wanted to spell out how this constant analyzing and self flagellation on top of it all layered on an extra coating of brutality.

    PS per the title of yr blog, I figured you’d lve thus. We’re in beautiful San Diego and I am not in the pool or at Sea World nor am I at the race track; I am in a cool, darkened room reading blogs while my “peanut” naps in his hotel bed

    • Ah, Alex, it’s when we read and write, isn’t it? The dark, cool afternoons for an hour or two?
      This week’s IJ reading is particularly tough. Sigh. Happy Melancholy August.

  2. ‘Bout 150 pages arears, and so it sounds like no puppies and rainbows and roller skates in my future. Oh vvwell!

    Honestly tho’. Thanks for this amazing blog. What a gift to parents and readers and readers (like me) who do their best to parent. Sending an ice cold virtual foamer your way (hell Gately’s got no use for it these days)!

    • Oh, wow, detox, i never noticed that. That part of the affection I have for Mario is the calm…that solipsistic Hal and distorted Orin and OCD Avril et al are all taxing in living in their heads. But Mario lives in his sweet little twisted body and is therefore kind of a respite in the story.

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