Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Monday, January 14, 2013


No sooner had I left Smith’s Northwest London than I entered Will Self’s Northwest London in his short listed Umbrella. I’m suddenly trapped in this Joycean world of prose. I’m often reminded of TC Boyle’s The Road to Wellville. “And yet: sex begets more sex, VS he is massaging my womb what a pair. Umbrella is chapterless and just marches through the streets of London via bus or on foot in a Marx brothers amble or stumble neglecting paragraphing and natural breaks and navigating the corridors of a hospital. The antics of the doctors, be it rearranging the patients or romping about in sexual escapades or sipping the port, leads us to wonder whether we should just die at home, thank goodness it isn’t 1832 and the cholera. The umbrella, a central image takes on many forms, from the making of them to the use or lack of use of them, to the losing of them is a where is Waldo challenge. Even sexually as the pink umbrella beneath the foreskin. And of course the shop, Appleby’s fabulous collection is an eye full and probably littered with very expensive umbrellas. The book is hard to put down because of the story and the style of writing. It can’t be read quickly. It must be read wordbyword, and so often out loud just to relish and enjoy the words and even to understand them: “She was always, he sighed, such a dainy little fing, per-teet if you know what I mean, an’ now just look at her minced morsels!” The language is just deeelightful. Oh and the book must be read in solitude, not on the beach or on a plane or train or in a house with disturbances. Late at night when everyone is asleep. Audrey wakes up halfway through book to announce her name is Death not Dearth. What a roller coaster as Self bounces us around in time. Audrey making 50 pounders at the Arsenal. The trench warfare of soldiers and patients finally produce lucid post-encephalitic patient rebirths emerged in their own palililic verbigeration. Zachary in his hospital trench warfare. Rebirth is a beautiful thing, L-DOPA. The continued back and forth from a One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest images of the traveling post-encies to the King of Hearts images of the battlefield survivors. I only see in sepia throughout this tome, no color not even blood red, only a darker brown. Laughing isn’t laughing, it just isn’t crying or screaming. Charly revisited. Nothing comes of nothing and it all just becomes a luxury condo that can’t hide its past is even grey. I’m an ape man, I’m an ape-ape man, oh I’m an ape man. Umbrella is a prize.

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