Obooki’s Survey of Contemporary Literatureed. Zadie Smith

#2 Daniel Clowes – Justin M Damiano

This is a

graphic short story. – I don’t know much about graphic novels in general. My best friend likes them and tries to talk to me about them; and I feel

compassion for him since he’s not able to communicate to me what it is he finds in them which touches his soul. – So the truth is I couldn’t really

say what the merits and the demerits of this graphic short story are. The ideas contained in it are perhaps anathema to me: a young film-critic

pretends to like art-house cinema to impress a girl (seriously, if his love of films is so shallow, how come he became a film-critic?). He writes a

bad review of a film by a director for whom he’d previously written a good review. Moment of epiphany and stuff.

The drawing seems pretty

simple, but I’ve no criteria by which to judge it. – I liked the fact that the hero’s thought were often superimposed on the speech-bubbles of the

other characters so that you couldn’t read them. Then again, for all I know, this might be a hackneyed commonplace.

#3 A L Kennedy –


I liked this story – which is no surprise, since in these projects it always seems to be A L Kennedy I like the most. In fact,

she’s the only one of this type of writer whose works I’ve ever read – or feel I’ve wanted to read – outside these little projects of mine; –

though the particular short story collection I’m on at the moment I’ve left aside for a while (perhaps a year), so maybe I’m not all that


Still, there’s something about Kennedy’s tales – something very dark and troubling and horrific, which makes her work seem

striking (particularly amongst other works of even mediocrity and tone) and idiosyncratic. They are different too in that they’re often charged with

emotion: – it may for a time be withheld and restrained, but usually it is intense and it is destroying these people from within. I like her strange,

disturbing world. – All I would complain about in this is her odd abnormal usage of words, which – while trying to attain, no doubt, to a poetic prose

– breaks up the rhythm of her writing for me: – “a pounce of bad weather “, “the drops legging down”, “the tiles were fairly smooth, but still

confused his fluid into throwing out fine liquid spines”, “he removed his hat and then settled it back on again” – which I just find irritating in a

Tibor-Fischer way.

#4 ZZ Packer – Gideon

Amiable style, short, moment of epiphany, nothing much to say, by the book,

not of any interest.


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