[DWJ] Book recommendations

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Wed Nov 15 16:06:58 EST 2006

Minnow wrote:

>I'm sure there are eloquent defenders to be found on this list: would
>anyone like to have a go at explaining what is wonderful about *Swithering
>Depths*?  *I* think it is melodramatic and self-indulgent tosh,
>ill-constructed, full of inconsistencies and plot-holes one could drive a
>coach-and-four through, and with the deplorable message that behaviour
>including necrophilia and serial child-abuse is romantic, but so many
>people I don't otherwise see as nitwitted seem to find in it things to
>admire that I periodically go back to it trying to find what I must have
>missed, and I always come away with the same question:
>What *is* it about that load of old fetid dingoes' kidneys that appeals to
>so many people?
For me, a lot of its charm is that I read it at the moment I was 
developing a literary critical ability. I found things in that book that 
showed me how to read as a literary critic, rather than just as a reader 
who was going to enjoy a story. It was the first book I read where I 
started to understand about layering and unreliable narration, and it 
helped me understand Heart of Darkness, which I had read some time 
before and totally failed to understand. I guess for me, I think of it 
fondly because of its obviousness, because it was asking to be taken 
apart and examined, and that was an important thing for me at the time. 
I haven't re-read it since, and I have to desire to teach it.


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