Right Ho, Jeeves (P.G. Wodehouse): Gussie’s prize-giving at Market Snodbury is as perfect as everyone said it would be, but – this is one of the worst confessions I’ve ever had to make – by the time I got around to it, after all those weeks of not finding time to read and all those months of reading elsewhere about the perfection that is Gussie’s damned prize-giving, I was too worn out by anticipation to fully enjoy the thing itself. Wodehouse is the greatest comic writer I’ve ever encountered, without question. But I read this one at the wrong time.
Weirdly, I miss Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, which is surely a ‘lesser’ novel by some measures, but is suffused by a warmth and tenderness that Code of the Woosters and Right Ho seem to lack.
I have a bunch more to read of Bertie and Jeeves, and I look forward to it, but I have other things on my mind at present. Alas. I love those two fellows.
The Book of Genesis (God, h/t King James): Astonishing, ridiculous, perverse, deeply Weird, familiar, new. Why have I never read any KJV before? By the time Joseph got his coat I was tired out, but the early chapters were an exhilarating experience. Such a density of Strangeness! Completely daft and not a bit reprehensible, frankly, but so is Cerebus and that’s the best comic ever made, so…
I plan to read the whole KJV this year, which may be difficult, given what else is on my plate. I speak of –
The Solitudes (John Crowley; v.1 of Aegypt): I’m not sure what to say.
Little, Big is one of the best novels I’ve ever read, the truest and most welcoming, but I have no desire to have written it, if that makes sense; I’m joyful and content that someone else has had those thoughts and made music of them. The Solitudes, on the other hand, has nearly killed me – it’s (retroactively?) become, or been revealed as, the novel I dreamed of writing, reflecting back everything I’m lately interested in, all in Crowley’s achingly beautiful prose. I feel like there’s no longer any point to me thinking the things I think, because Crowley’s already thought and written them, and I’ll never have his skill.
Kind of a pain in the ass. But good.
I wrote to an ex-something, last year, to tell her (out of the blue) that Little, Big was the novel she didn’t know she’d been waiting all her life to read. She’s a Mark Helprin fan, and I hoped Little, Big would rid her of her affection for Helprin’s ‘look at all this beautiful beauty’ stuff that’s enough to give you diabetes.
The Solitudes is the novel I’ve spent the last 15 years learning how to read. I would’ve flipped for its formal ingenuity in college, but I wouldn’t have understood it at all back then. This was the rightest moment to read it.
Pierce Moffett is a berk but I do look forward to the rest of his story.