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28 July 2006 @ 01:51 pm
The classic french, the irreverent greek and the Disney contract.  
When I look at my compost heap, I see a pile of disintegrating organic pieces. If I look closer, I can see the whole pile is breathing. If I focus, I can tell all these worms eating the organic matter, moving and making it breath. That image is very close to Flaumbert's Madame Bovary, the character, the events, the book itself. It is a book you can read breathless. There are possibly so many things written about it that it would be too much if I add more words.
Next to my miraculously big reading list is Pope Joan by Emmanouil Roidis. I wanted to read this book for years and I never expected it to be that fun AND entertaining AND witty. If you can read old greek choose it over the modern greek translation. After a while you will find yourself thinking in a roidesque language which is at least "interesting".
And now, let's hop alltogether to our third heroine of the day, Candy Quackenbush. If we should hop on top of the book she enacts in, I wouldn't care less.
This might come as a surprise, at least to me it was, but the new Clive Barker book was not good. What a big dissapointment from my favourite fairy-teller. Abarat by Clive Barker adds up many weaknesses of a bad written book and I will put them here in a few words.
*Few things happen in so many pages. This is not a weakness by itself in writing so maybe I should rewrite my comment. Too many non-significant events need an abundance of pages to be described. If you ask me that's bad writing for books intended to kids, except if you are Pynchon or Joyce or some existentialist writer and you can fill your pages creatively.
*The imagery of Clive Barker's work is fading in the Californian sun. One of his great assets was the dreamlike quality of images he could induce in your brain while reading. He still moves in the same context of creatures and places, but what he makes is not open to your imagination (like the Tsunami creature in the Weaveworld for example), it's drawn, finished and prisoned in words. I can put it this way. He used to give you blueprints for creating your own images of the things he wrote, now he just gives you the things, drawn, colored and signatured. I must say that I finished the plain book edition, just words, not his drawings. But still it didn't worked.
*Now let me tell you the biggest flaw and the main one too, which is the cause of all the other flaws. Because that's what happens when you write a book having a future contract with Disney Entertainment in mind. It makes a crappy director's guide for filming a crappy childish movie. "For Dummies". It explains the easily understandable. Mr. Barker is so scared that his book might fail to have a good director that he pre-edits the scenes. And he is not good at this if we remember his early attempts in filming. Everything is edited in a bad "action for kids" movie, like 101 dalmatians. You can have a drinking game of how many times in this book and the series to come, the foot of miss Candy Quackenbush will be captured at the last moment by her prosecutors, but she in a "magical" way will free it and run away. Played in all variations.
*Which brings us to the subject of the annoyning little heroine, Candy Quackenbush. In the first 100 pages you will wish that that Mendelson Shape will finally kill her, so that she will stop annoying you. But no, she 'ALWAYS' survives and I bet she will make it through the 100 hundred series of books Clive is going to write about her. Other than being an annoying little girl, as a character is empty, purpose-less and poor in fiction quality. And this brings us back to the Disney contract and you can imagine an annoying little girl already selected to play her role. Sets already designed, costumes too. So I finally can put in a sentence what's so annoying with this book. It's not fiction, it's just a detailed description of the movie that will be made from it. That's it.
*I will stop being a bitch, because I could say a lot about the timing of this book. Obviously the success of Harry Potter movies and Narnia made Barker jealous and he wants to grab the pie. Not a bad ambition, but approached in the wrong way. I will stop here cause Clive Barker is still my favourite storyteller and I hope that he will finish the Books Of The Art trilogy
So here I am again, writing more things about what I disliked than what I liked, but I hope you get the picture. Prefer reading The Thief Of Always, if you haven't already.
Current Mood: hothot
nupnup on July 28th, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC)
Οοο! Σοβαρά, όλα όσα περιγράφεις ήταν ο λόγος που τόσο καιρό δεν έχω κάνει ρίβιου στο Άμπαρατ. Έχω διαβάσει το πρώτο βιβλίο της σειράς εδώ και ενάμιση χρόνο περίπου και ήταν εντελώς απογοητευτικό. Πραγματικά σκυλοβαρετό και μονότονο. (Ναι, την Κάντυ κι εγώ την αντιπάθησα...)
Ανυγουέη, εγώ αγόρασα το εικονογραφημένο διότι τείνω να εκτιμώ βαθύτατα την ζωγραφική κλίση του Μπάρκερ, και ναί όντως η εικόνα ήταν σα να σου επέβαλε την φαντασία.
(BTW, The Thief Of Always was excellent.)