Nothing Is Invisible

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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Point Omega, by Don DeLillo

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 27 April 2011

PointOmega.jpg

Point Omega, by Don DeLillo

Point Omega (2010) (novel) by Don DeLillo (White Noise (1985), Underworld (1997), The Body Artist (2001), Falling Man (2007)).  Disturbing, masterful, spare; lucid and complex.

According to DeLillo, the novel considers an idea from “…the writing of the Jesuit thinker and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.”  The ‘Omega Point’ of the title “…[is] the possible idea that human consciousness is reaching a point of exhaustion and that what comes next may be either a paroxysm or something enormously sublime and unenvisionable.”  (According to Wikipedia, Teilhard makes sense of the universe by its evolutionary process. He interprets complexity as the axis of evolution of matter into a geosphere, a biosphere, into consciousness (in man), and then to supreme consciousness (the Omega Point).  The Omega Point is said to denote the state of  maximum organized complexity (complexity combined with centricity), towards which the universe is evolving.)

 As on knows, omega (the last letter of the Greek alphabet) is often used to denote the last, the end, or the ultimate limit of a set, in contrast to alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet. In the New Testament, God is declared to be the “alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”. (Wikipedia)

Omega can equally be thought of as the end of death or even time, or as the name of the end; in linguistics, as the phonological word; in textual criticism, as the archetype of a manuscript tradition

At the end of Point Omega, DeLillo, in his “Acknowledgment”, writes: “24 Hour Psycho, a videowork by Douglas Gordon, was first screened in 1993 in Glasgow and Berlin.  It was installed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the summer of 2006.” 24 Hour Psycho is the showing of Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic film thriller Psycho (1960) slowed down from its usual 24 frames per second, 109 minute running time, so that it runs 1440 minutes, or 24 hours, at approximately 2 frames per second.  In Point Omega, the first and last sections of the DeLillo’s novel take place during a showing of 24 Hour Psycho.

24 Hour Psycho, as an artistic creation, deals with themes common to Gordon’s work, such as “recognition and repetition, time and memory, complicity and duplicity, authorship and authenticity, darkness and light”, as one can learn in an piece in The Guardian.  Moreover, the slideshow and text accompanying it, as highly relevant as they are to DeLillo’s work, are fascinating in their own right.

With respect to the first edition cover of Point Omega, one could wonder at the presence of the sign for infinity, given the accepted literal and symbolic understanding of “omega” as, truly, the end.  Conscious choice and interesting implications of infinite endings, or even, the end of infinity?  Amusing joke?  Artist’s choice?  Coincidence? (PR)

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a wonderful personal library.

Omega uc lc.svg

images: Wikipedia

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Posted in Art, Book Reviews, Conceptual Art, culture, Exhibitions, film, General, Installations, Language, Links, Literature, Museum & Gallery Shows, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible, Slide Shows | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Discomfort Zone, by Jonathan Franzen

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Discomfortzonecvr.jpg

The Discomfort Zone, by Jonathan Franzen

image: Wikipedia

The Discomfort Zone (2006) (Memoir) by Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections (2001), How to Be Alone (2002), Freedom (2010))  A wonderful book, thoughtful, perceptive and funny, looking at the individual and American society in the 1960s and 1970s.  Interested in bird-watching?? (PR)

In February 2010, Franzen (along with writers including Richard Ford, Zadie Smith (see our previous posts on Zadie Smith, here) and Anne Enright) was asked by The Guardian to contribute what he believed were ten serious rules to abide by for aspiring writers.  Franzen’s rules ran as follows:

  1. The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.
  2. Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money.
  3. Never use the word “then” as a ­conjunction– we have “and” for this purpose. Substituting “then” is the lazy or tone-deaf writer’s non-solution to the problem of too many “ands” on the page.
  4. Write in the third person unless a ­really distinctive first-person voice ­offers itself irresistibly.
  5. When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a novel is devalued along with it.
  6. The most purely autobiographical ­fiction requires pure invention. Nobody ever wrote a more auto­biographical story than “The Metamorphosis“.
  7. You see more sitting still than chasing after.
  8. It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction (the TIME magazine cover story detailed how Franzen physically disables the Net portal on his writing laptop).
  9. Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.
  10. You have to love before you can be relentless.

Note:  Today, 26 April 2011, is the 226th anniversary of the birth of John James Audubon.  Here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry for the Audubon Society, a non-profit organisation created in 1905 whose purpose and focus is the conservation of birds, other wildlife and healthy ecosystems.

 

 Plate 41 of Birds of America by John James Audubon depicting Ruffed Grouse

 

 

 

 

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a wonderful personal library.

image: Wikipedia

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Posted in Art, Book Reviews, culture, Environment, General, Links, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible, painting | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Wild Things, by Dave Eggers

Posted by the editors on Monday, 25 April 2011

The Wild Things, by Dave Eggers

The Wild Things (2009) (novel) by Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), You Shall Know Our Velocity (2002), What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng (2006)).  The Wild Things is the novelisation of the screenplay, co-written by Eggers and Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich (1999)), of the film Where the Wild Things Are (2009), directed by Jonze; the screenplay being based, of course, on the classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are (1963) written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

Sendak’s book, a scant 300 words and 18 illustrations, aside from its sensitivity to the powerlessness often felt by children in this world already sadly daunting for adults, owes much of its success to its openess, permitting each young reader the liberty to flesh out the details in ways that best suit him or her.  Eggers’ novelisation, on the other hand, in its detail, reduces just this openess to such an extent that the result is not only disappointing, but even rather boring, petty and banal, and this despite Eggers’ usual gift for, shall we call it, literary velocity.

Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

image: Wikipedia

Nevertheless, we do heartily recommend Eggers’ three other works, cited above, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), You Shall Know Our Velocity (2002), What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng (2006), all of which are well worth reading. (PR)

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a wonderful personal library.

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The Last Audit – Review of David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King” by Tom McCarthy

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace, “a coherent, if incomplete, portrayal of our age unfolding on an epic scale”, or…

image: Illustration by Peter Mendelsund/The New York Times

Tom McCarthy, the British author (and, conceptual artist!) (his novels include the fascinating Remainder (2007), and the somewhat challenging C (2010)) has written a very interesting, and perhaps Wallace-ian, review of The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, in the Sunday Book Review section of The New York Times.  One could have the impression that McCarthy has read Zadie Smith’s essay Two Directions for the Novel, in her collection of essays entitled Changing My Mind (2009)(marvelous, astute essays definitely worth slogging through reading), in which she discusses, among other things, the authors Franz Kafka, Alain Robbe-Grillet, David Foster Wallace and, yes, Tom McCarthy; he, too, seems to admire the complications of the contemporary world.  Or is it that he, too, appreciates clarity?

In any case, McCarthy’s excellent review of Wallace’s The Pale King is really quite, hmmm, enjoyable.

Read our previous posts on David Foster Wallace and The Pale King, David Foster Wallace – Piecing Together a Posthumous Novel, The Pale King; The Pale King – David Foster Wallace & the Staggering, Multifarious, Cacophonous Predicament; A Self-Help Reader for David Foster Wallace

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Posted in Book Reviews, Conceptual Art, culture, General, Language, Links, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

“A Visit From the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan Wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2011

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A Visit From the Goon Squad.jpg

A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

image: Wikipedia

Jennifer Egan‘s “A Visit From the Goon Squad“, a “mostly dystopian”, splendidly eccentric novel has won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Read Janet Maslin’s review, entitled “Time, Thrashing to Its Own Rock Beat”, of Egan’s novel, “A Visit From the Goon Squad“, in The New York Times, here.

 Limber up your neurons, time’s the goon here.
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