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Archive for the ‘William Golding’ Category

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Okay, now that I’ve had time to digest the book (and to cope with the ending) I wanted to give some final thoughts on the book.  I also wanted to tie up some loose ends by posting my original response to the Salon.com questions as well as my letter to the posted article (keeping all my IJ stuff in one place).  I also found a map of Enfield that places things nicely in context.  I’ve included that at the bottom of the page.

But on to the book:

My previous post ended with what feels like a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth.  And yet I the disappointment I felt at the end of the book was not so much at what was said, but was actually a sort of disappointment that the book is over.

The book, the world, these characters became a part of my life.  I know for a fact that I have never spent this much time and effort on a book before (I didn’t even spend as much time on Ulysses, which I’ve read twice for a class).  And I think having the book left so open keeps the characters floating around in my head without actually letting them rest.  (Wraith-like if you will).

When I finished the book, the first thing I did was to go back to the beginning and re-read the Year of Glad section (now, for the third time!) [And I now I’m not the only person to have done so….just how many posts will say that that’s what they did?]. And I know that’s sort of the set-up of the book, like Finnegans Wake or even Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  And, in re-reading, even more gaps were filled in.  And that is, of course, why people read it multiple times.  And yet, do any of the multiple-times readers come any close to filing in the gaps of that lost year, or do they just find more and more awesome details to obsess over (or both)?

But before I get wrapped up in trying to “figure out what happened” I have to mention just how much I enjoyed the book.  I’ve never read anything like it.  The details, the quotes, the laughs, the pain.  It all sounds so trite (“It was better than Cats!”)  And yet, whether it’s the work itself or the amount of time spent on it, these characters are now with me.

So, I had read IJ when it came out.  And sometime in 1997 or 1998 after DFW published A Supposedly Fun Thing… he did a promotional tour stop in Boston.  And I recall getting up there and getting his autograph and saying how much I loved IJ and how it has stayed with me two years later. And that was true then (of course, if you’ve read me fumbling around and not remembering anything, you’ll know the details didn’t stay with me for 13 years, but that’s okay…the writing and the imagery stayed there somewhere.)

I think also, given the amount of time I spent on the book, and the amount of effort I expended keeping track of things, having this vacancy (both in the fact that the book is over and in the gap of one year) is really weird.  I’ve since read a bunch of reviews of IJ and the one thing I cannot imagine is how anyone with an advanced readers copy of this book could hope to read it in a few days (typical reviewer turnover time) and actually have something useful to say about it in time for a slated book review date?  I would think that if you weren’t following quite so closely you wouldn’t feel the sense of loss at the end of the book.

But enough pontificating.

Let’s think about what happened from 11/20 YDAU to Whataburger in late November, Year of Glad. (more…)

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