Literature Abusers

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Fri Mar 23 03:57:53 EST 2001

On Wed, 21 Mar 2001 23:00:58 -0500, Miranda K. Smith wrote:

>> On Wed, 21 Mar 2001 17:33:22 -0500 (EST), M Elizabeth Parks wrote:
>> Is anyone else in the middle of a book glut? ... 
>> In the middle of _Little, Big_ by John Crowley
>Yay! I love Crowley. Strange, elegant, obtuse,
>scholarly, intensely poetic writer. His books move 
>SLOWLY  but there's something very relaxing about
>that, as long as you're sufficiently addicted to his prose
>to keep picking  up whichever one you're in the middle

It's been interesting.  Slow going, because you cannot skim for content; the
prose passages *are* the content.  I like the way it's changed shape while I
was reading it.  It's much more a literary novel than a fantasy in
structure, but the fantasy themes and images are essential to the book.  I'm
reading _Little, Big_ for a reading group I've just been invited to
participate in, and I'm glad of it, because there's a lot to be said about

>in part because...segue...Elizabeth just mentioned Oz;
>I'm currently in the middle of Wicked, by Gregory 
>Maguire. Anyone? anyone? (Sorry, BTW, if I'm 
>bringing up any previously-discussed books; I haven't
>had time to go through the archive yet, though I fully
>intend to, because I"m dying to know what you all
>think of Harry Potter--he must've come up.) I love
>Wicked--it's the life of the Wicked Witch of the West,
>whose name turns out to be Elphaba, up to her sudden
>death at Dorothy's hands. Describing it makes it
>sound like it'll be funny; it's not, at all,but it's brilliant.
>Amazing how he takes Baum's Oz and deepens it into
>this incredibly real and complex place, with religious,
>political, ecological dynamics & conflicts--he's good.
>I think this is his first. One to watch. 

It is good--very well done.  It's also one that did not touch me at all.  I
recognized the brilliance of it, but it' can I explain this?  Looked
at in pieces (i.e. the realizing of Oz, the creation of Elphaba from the
Wicked Witch of the West, etc.) it makes sense.  As a whole, I couldn't
understand what I was supposed to feel or know or learn or understand from
having read it.  I have had this reaction to other novels and it disturbs
me.  It's like having a giant blind spot, like there's some missing piece
that will let me see what everyone else sees.

Some books, I'm not as moved as others are (did Jessie and I discuss
_Freedom & Necessity_ here or in the Alexlit group? never mind) but I can
still understand why.  Here, I'm simply mystified.

I don't know if this makes sense.  Maybe I will try again in the morning.
The later morning.  It's 2 a.m. right now.

Melissa Proffitt
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