Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Changing Horses

I almost never do this, but there will be no review of William Vollman’s “Europe Central” forthcoming anytime soon. I have reached the 100-page mark and this is what I know:

* He refers to Hitler as “the sleepwalker” and Stalin as “the realist.” This was mildly interesting at first but grows increasingly more irritating as he uses real names for EVERYONE ELSE.

* A German woman who likes to paint peasant women holding dead children went on a trip to Russia where she was honored for her art. Sort of. And listened to a symphony by a composer.

* That composer was married but left his wife for another woman, for whom he wrote an impassioned symphony(? it’s just called Opus 40) through which you can hear his love.

That’s it. There’s like seven hundred more pages of this. I have a great deal of respect for the “beautiful sentence” crowd, but I don’t consider plot an acceptable casualty of the doctrine, and I don’t have a lot of time to read. If I want long, rambling description, I’ll at least read Proust, who may take forever to get somewhere but provides a much more interesting ride. On to the next book on the stack.

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