Des Lewis - GESTALT REAL-TIME BOOK REVIEWS A FEARLESS FAITH IN FICTION — THE PASSION OF THE READING MOMENT CRYSTALLISED — Empirical literary critiques from 2008 as based on purchased books.
When I re-read this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…
My previous review of MZD: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/the-familiar-mark-z-danielewski/
This book is significantly cross-referenced and taken by a grip on its wrist to Brian Evenson’s Other Floor here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/02/06/oculus-sinister/#comment-20928
“(strange how the house won’t support the presence of animals)” (sic)
A section on the behaviour of pets in Navidson’s bookhouse, coming and going like that in another book, the Cheshire Cat. And this leads you to some more Truant footnotery about Zampanò’s own many pets when he was found dead on the scarred floor, this footnote including a wonderfully long and streaming sentence that indicates that O Henry has now been blended with Proust!…including the ‘happy’ happenstance of footnotery framing an accidental, if meaningful, blankness in the bookhouse…yet it disarmingly states that “it knows nothing of whim.”But aren’t accident and whim synonymous?
Again, on today’s date, cross-referenced by my respective simultaneous reviews of the Austin Wright and the Christopher Priest.
“Navidson, no doubt, is privately incensed that he must ask another man to explore his own house.” (sic)
You have also already debated, no doubt, the whys and wherefores of the now famous sudden arrival of Holloway without imagination but with plenty of mountaineering grit, plus his two named sidekicks, so as to help explore the ‘hallway’, and some of you may have factored in the various opinions of the footnotes as they fit the gestalt, with this arrival changing the dynamics of the family, the effect on Karen and her flirting, but, above all, I look forward to reminding myself, later on, of the various numbered explorations into the strange disorientating mechanics of this bookhouse that none of us have yet addressed in public.
“a dangerous clarity”
…being an important concept, here slipped into another long Truant footnote, one where the need to translate a line from Rilke allows him to meet Kyrie a German girl with whom he has the longest copulating in a Joycean style possible, while retaining his own prose style, so enormous an experience it almost matches the three explorations so far of the increasingly accretive hallway that becomes “dream-like” and monumental or momentous enough to warrant much speculation, on the nature of filming and whether it is possible to encompass such journeys, and of Holloway and his two sidekicks themselves, and the loyalty of Karen to the onward safety of Navidson who is thus held back from such expeditions himself… or sort of. (Truant’s heart’s thumping, notwithstanding.)As you can see, as a reviewer, I am in no danger of achieving clarity! One day they will need many more footnotes for my review itself!
“As Karen discovers, the whole house defies any normal means of determining direction.” (sic)
Some internal spoilers here, not mine! Presaging events that have not yet happened in it, but, of course, you all know ready what does happen in this bookhouse. But more linearly, here, this is Holloway’s Exploration or Operation #4 with, for whatever reason, a shotgun — and what happens to Karen outside when being kissed by one of Holloway’s sidekicks. Films left intentionally for Navidson to watch later? And the effect of events on the Navidson children, or their effects upon events, a mutual synergy? Meanwhile, I am just about to make my own second Exploration into my own lifetime’s gestalt as bookhouse, by entering again the Sot-Weed Factor HERE alongside this Danielewski one.
Cross-referenced with The Other One by Timothy Granville here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/02/06/oculus-sinister/#comment-20959
“Not by chance does Navidson shoot Reston’s wheelchair in the photographic idiom of a prison; spokes for bars, seat like a cell, glimmering brake resembling some kind of lock.”
In this famous SOS chapter, we end up saying ‘So?’ — while negotiating the dots between the dashes as false breaks in the text, an avant garde obstacle-course that blends the ‘fuck’ of Truant in his increasingly factored- or shuffled-in footnotes into a rare ‘fuck’ from Zampanò, who knows he nears death but leaving this monument of a bookhouse as his vicarious or leasehold moment in the limelight, as I am (now, also an old man, myself nearing again prostate cancer death) making this review my own monument to be immodestly factored-into my odd canon. As, equally, I recognise how Navidson — the alter ego of the bookhouse’s freehold author — is controlling as well as calling all the shots. Literally as well as figuratively. Even with the bravado to take charge and to try rescue Holloway from the over-extended Exploration #4 of the hallway. Maybe as it says at the end of this chapter, I need “to get out of the house”…!Meanwhile, I noted that despite his consistent modern-literary tone of voice, Truant has suddenly started including the ignorant habit of using ‘of’ instead of ‘have’ in his verb constructions, viz. ‘would OF done’. His foot-long note here also has more of his slap-happy ambitions to have at Thumper’s ass including her view of her own clitoris. So?.
“…Zampanò likes to obscure the secondary sources he’s using in order to appear more versed in primary documents.”
More here on echoes and, now, the hallway and its Exploration #4, as a classical labyrinth…. And some woman called Tatiana who once helped Z as a scribe goes “slipping inside me and knowing exactly where to go too, heading straight for the prostate, the P spot, the LOUD button…”The truant me. I who never swear.
And now we have Derrida strikings out galore!Under Erasure.
Even Truant is wiped out by a truck. Or is he?
Pages 112 – 115
Fascinating material scattered through footnotes and proffered translations, about centres as part of the whole or above the whole, relating to science and labyrinths, e.g.:
All factors that have long debated with myself in eventually finding the literary centre and/or gestalt as part of the #GestaltRealTimeReviewing process.
Pages 115 – 118
“Due to the wall-shifts and extraordinary size, any way out remains singular and applicable only to those on that path at that particular time. All solutions then are necessarily personal.141” *
*There ensues, as footnote 141, another brilliant piece of rough literature by the Truant as author, his “priapic” state, a blind man among blind men, who had written a poem when blind? I reckon he was more the only one-eyed one in the country of the blind. Or was this some ploy to get laid by Tolstoy’s Natasha or some other Natasha, or to be swaddled by the breasts (bouncing breasts like ‘pacmen’) of another woman? Whatever the case, without any sarcasm on my part, this is the most brilliant part of the book, the parallel novel as written by this Truant one as footnotes. The rest is brilliant too, mind you.[See my connecting review of The Visible Changes that I conducted just before reading these pages of HoL, here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/02/06/oculus-sinister/#comment-20986 ]
See my review here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/06/11/inner-rooms-and-secret-quarters-d-p-watt/
Pages 118 – 120
Each numbered exploration, including #4, is a PERSONAL journey. The inner rooms and secret quarters never the same, more like a camping trip, a proofing of manhood and humanity and bravery, a proofing of a new series of rooms, and now some of the footnotes themselves become these various inserted rooms as squares, with mirror images of the words in the same square on the obverse page! The desire for exteriority. The conundrum of unoccupied space and habitability.But, meanwhile, why does not the explicit quotation from John Updike about straight galleries and the act of curving furtively not deserve its own footnote of derivation like every other quotation in this bookhouse? We need to know.
I have now done my own research on that John Updike quote and find it was his translation of a Borges poem. And it does say in the HoL text that Updike was simply ‘translating the labyrinth’ (sic).
Pages 121 – 127
Amid this maze or labyrinth that the text itself is increasingly becoming as well as the bookhouse the hallway Holloway is threading with his two sidekicks, with the frequent release of the ‘fuck’ expletive that somehow spelunking generates a footnote about caving…nothing can be taken for granted, even the interstices of their clothing are mutable, and the fragile nature of sanity in anyone in these circumstances carrying a rifle! Decisions as well as events become ‘ugly’. One must not forget that we only know these now famous events by means of the evidence of their shaky ‘Hi 8’ cameras, the footnotes being just sporadic confusion markers in the guise of academic certainty. Much of the lists are too easily unreadable, but I try to check every word, but who knows what even I have missed. Even the freehold author is as fallible on this score as his leasehold characters and the growling hi-jackers disguised as readers…
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