mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Random, and Little, Big

Clapotis is such an unfortunate term for anything, especially something as beautiful as a clapotis. It also sounds like one of those ground-cover plants. 'The clapotis have taken over the garden. I'll have to uproot them all this Saturday.'

I think I said that I'd had Little, Big on my shelf for twenty years. Turns out to be closer to a quarter century. And I can't tell you how odd that felt when I realized it. "Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume." I just started reading it.

It gives me literal nightmares, in fact, contents unseizable but certainly related to what Housman mentioned:
And from the cave of oracles I heard the priestess shrieking
That she and I should surely die and never live again.
which possibly may have to do with the Eheu fugaces feeling attendant on discovering when I actually bought the physical book, but probably has more to do with its contents. It's a good thing I never dropped acid back in the days when acid was popular. Stuff that's too highly coloured, stuff that references memories too closely (quite prosaic memories too- hot summer afternoons in early childhood, the lights of someone else's living room on some Novemberish evening) give me the kind of fantods I can't deal with. Titus Groan did it; Little, Big is doing it. I can't stop reading it but I'm hoping the uneasiness of the ambiance will give way to the prosaic mundane, and also hoping it won't.

It's a bit odd to be reading this after reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and not the other way around, as I assume everyone else did; and I wonder why no one I know mentioned Crowley when they were discussing Clarke. JS&MN did indeed do some of the synapse-tickling that LB does: feather-touch of unplaceable and sinister for-no-good-reason memories, of other voices and other rooms. (Oh yeah, Capote. Did I mention early Capote does it too?) But Clarke's pastiche keeps you at an intellectual distance, admiring the technical brilliance of writing in Thackery's or Trollope's or whoever's voice. There's no intellectual distance with LB, and to make it worse I'm reading Mushishi at the same time. The two resonate far too well together for comfort. I should be reading the dry sauterne of 100 Demons instead, to counteract LB's dizzying instant-drunk sweet sherry. Not the arghness of oh say The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke- odd things not quite seen in the deep woods of August- but the commonsense domesticity of the dragon in the living room scarfling his sixth bowl of rice.
Tags: art, mushishi, reading_07, rl_07, verse
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