Daily Archives: April 7, 2014

56% done with The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood

The analogy Elspeth uses about the hand mixer shows she has a much deeper understanding of how Africa works(ed) than most other Europeans. She understands (as does Tilly and Robin) that witchcraft lives right alongside medicine here. Africans have been ‘making the cake’ for millions of years just as Europeans have been making theirs and it’s all turned out just fine, even of the ingredients are different.

The Sheltering Sky: Read from April 05 to 07, 2014

I just can’t keep on with this book. I don’t like the characters one bit. They are all such very hateful people, very shallow in their behavior towards each other and naive in their analysis of themselves, and while I get the point of the book, I just don’t want to spend time with these characters. Maybe some people might find it interesting to discover why these characters are always so sad and laconic and dissatisfied with all life, but I do not care to find out. If I knew these people in real life I would avoid them at all costs (and I’m sure they would have nothing to do with me, either).

I wonder why Bowles felt the need to write this book? What was his inspiration? Whom did he imagine his audience to be? In some ways this book felt like it was birthed from the duty-bound anus of that hive queen insect whom resides in the basement of all 20th century college English departments and literary journals – a white-sticky, pulsating mass of mucus dripping portentousness whose juices are drunk, forcibly at first, to undergrads eager to please a professor who has it on for such things as plot and humor when he comes upon them in a book. In fact this book might be the near death blow dealt to English literature which has driven almost all people capable of reading onto other leisure activities.

This book is everything that is wrong with so many modern novels – it’s absolutely nonspecific in every way, it describes only semi-sentient bodies floating in a warm, thick cream in near weightlessness – no force acts upon the people in the book and they do not interfere with anything going on outside the confines of the pages. Everything is ‘sad’, everyone is ‘languid’, life is ‘meaningless’, and nothing is explained because it’s ‘art’.

Bullshit. It’s all bullshit. And I hate every word of it.