On Three Tedious Authors

To the point.

For instance, Marquez is an over rated writer. Merely having force-fed myself Love in the Time of Cholera for academic purposes, I might not seem to be the ideal candidate for judging Marquez. However, after having attempted to read One Hundred Years multiple times and having failed miserably each time, I pitch the blame on the author for putting off a reader thus. There is no better judge of an over rated author than a competent reader whose competency has been crushingly thwarted by his panoramic, luxuriously sprawled out narrative. Marquez’s birdie-eye view of history sweeping across centuries and generations feels like you are caught in a labyrinthine family tree and you are entitled to take a break every now and then, every generation or so. In my case, the breaks tend to get a tad longer, and I haven’t been able to move past the death of the young girl during childbirth somewhere in the first quarter of the book. I felt it deserved a longer span of mourning than what Marquez can possibly give her with his machine-gun coverage of events. So here I am still in mourning after more than a year.

Then there’s Hilary Mantel who is more historian-and-biographer than fiction writer. Reading Wolf Hall was an insufferable exercise of patience and endurance under duress. The characters are all appallingly fleshed out and in sheer number they flabbergast the lector pauperum. Fighting the urge to terminate my excruciating drudging through the narrative that’s paced like hyper-realistic life, I laboured on like a good ol’ soldier vaguely expecting a gun salute at the end. However, I merely ended up with a bleary vision of Thomas Cromwell’s life and thoughts in medieval England and two weeks’ time wasted. Much like Fabrice del Dongo’s bewildering experience of the battlefield in Charterhouse of Parma, to give a classical allusion to my plight.

Hardy can be tedious and dull at times especially in those nature descriptions and the detailed exposition of motives and morals. I rather liked Jude the Obscure and Far from the Madding Crowd. But Tess of the D’Urbervilles–with its permanent atmosphere of gloom even in happy times, the downfall of Tess from the moment her father comes to know of his noble ancestry, the rape/seduction by Alec, the meandering plot, misunderstandings, blah blah, and the final comic twist, Tess’s murder of Alec and her subsequent arrest and hanging–was pure horror. Such a lovely tale, that proved once and for all that even milkmaids are capable of being tragic heroes and hanged. I mean, the character of Tess is so exasperating, her silence and self imposed suffering seems almost ridiculous. She must die for others to be happy. For her husband to marry her younger sister who has Tess’s looks without the tragic flaw, whatever that is. Convenient.

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9 thoughts on “On Three Tedious Authors

  1. You raise some interesting points, but my biggest issue is with your ideas about Marquez. Half of the enjoyment I got from A Hundred Years was my inability to follow what was going on. Quickly, I realised the best way to read the book was in short segments, randomly, over the course of a few weeks. This way I could appreciate individual sections of the work rather than seeing it as a coherent whole.

    Academics in future decades can concern themselves with it’s meanings and themes, right now I was just keen to enjoy it.

    Took me a long to figure out this method, though, so I can understand your concerns fully…

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    • Thanks for your comment.

      I guess your method would work well. That’s what I tried to do. But getting back to what happened in the text proved not so easy for me. The span of narrative is rather putting off. I wish I had read the book, though. It is rewarding once you get used to the narrative style. And what I’ve read is still etched in my mind. He’s a great writer, no doubt, but it’s just that you need infinite patience with him.

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    • I think you read Marquez in reverse, first the Cholera, followed by the Solitude. To me the Solitude was a fabulous read, Cholera a terrible ordeal.

      As for Hardy, I think it is ‘Jude the Obscure’ which is more depressing than ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’. After reading Jude I lost appetite for a few days.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment.

      I’m equally relieved you feel the same. The book was recommended to me in high terms and I was afraid to rate the book a disappointment. But it indeed was.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Cylan! I was surprised to see someone following my blog even though I haven’t posted anything for ages. Thank you. I’m still surprised as I would call it meagre at its best. My blog, I mean. I’m curious as to what you liked about it.

    That apart, I checked out your blog and this was the first post that I stumbled upon. I fell in love with the unapologetic tone in your writing more than the writing itself. Not a cynical, rub-you-in-the-wrong-way kind of ‘unapologetic’, but something akin to fresh air. Thank you for this post. Marquez and Hardy are indeed trying masters. I haven’t read Hilary Mantel though. Maybe, I should gear up for a challenge. (Or not? ‘Charterhouse of Parma’ was exasperating. I don’t mind throwing rhyme and reason out of the window in most cases. In the case of ‘Charterhouse…’ I was desperately trying to hold on to sanity.)

    I look forward to more of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure if I followed your blog, because I can’t find you in my followed sites list.
      But anyway, thanks for following Clownin’ and for the longest comment anyone has ever written on this blog 😀

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