by, 01-01-2009 at 09:28 PM (1730 Views)
So, it is to be the Auster for the January forum read. I thought I was happy, since the Aquin was less appealing once I'd got a look at it, but yesterday I picked up The Dark Man at the local library (that's the only Auster they had at my branch) and read it and, while I don't object to the noir-ish feel of the prose, I was alarmed to find that there were several incidents in the book that I can only describe as very disturbing. Someone was drawn and quartered. Someone was beaten to death by terrorists. For instance.
Things like this are things I don't need in my head. It's not Auster, I know that, it's me. My problem. I'm the one with the brain run amok, who has to be careful what images get put inside it. But now that I've read the Auster, I see that he's casual about using such images, that he'll go that far, and so I am wary - The New York Trilogy might contain images just as distressing.
I mean, I got bored last week, I was at loose ends, so I read a Ruth Rendell. One thing about Rendell, you can trust when you pick her up that you're not going to end up with some horrible picture of some horrible thing stuck in your mind for God knows how long, despite the fact that there is always a murder in there somewhere, usually prominently featured.
But these things are like advertising jingles to me. They get stuck in a neural loop. It's called OCD. A drag when it comes to having to check that the stove is off ten times, but it does have its up side. I'm a whiz with details.
I'm serious. I've never seen Schindler's List. People I know have yelled at me about it. How can I, coming from a Jewish background, NOT have seen Schindler's List? Look, I want to see it (just like I want to see Syriana because I have a thing for George Clooney), but watching people be tortured is not something I can afford to do. For you, it's five or ten minutes out of your life; for me it could mean weeks of remembering and remembering and remembering.
I know it seems stupid. On the other hand, it's my brain, it's pretty useful, I kind of like it, and if it isn't perfect, well then, that's all right. I can deal with never seeing Syriana. But I knew when I read the plot summary of Syriana on the NetFlix site (yes, I'm a renter, I settle for the small screen, but I am particular about letterbox rather than pan and scan format) that there was going to be some impossible-to-get-past material. It's the stuff that you don't expect - rolling merrily along and then a sudden shift of scene to an empty room with a single chair in the middle - that is dangerous. (And here is the beauty thing about renting - just press the button, the remote is in your hands, no cowering behind the movie theater seat in front of you with your hands over your ears).
I didn't expect anyone to be drawn and quartered in The Dark Man. It really came out of nowhere. Luckily for me I caught on three sentences or so before the actual event was described and was able to close my eyes and turn the page really fast.
After that I was on my guard. I guess you have to be, with Auster.
Or at least I do.