#WritersWednesday: Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis ~

I know who you are and I know what you’re doing.”

Glamorama Today I am taking a break from my usual #WW feuilleton to say a few words about Glamorama. I got this book as a Xmas present from son no 2, and so I read it with attention. Of course I am aware of the scandal around American Psycho, and of some of the damning reviews that welcome Glamorama in 1998, in equal number to admiring ones. I am on the side of the admirers: don’t be fooled by the jealous, this was, still is, will be for a long time, an important book. And I think Ellis is an important writer.

Since 1998 we have seen more horrors, on these shores and elsewhere, some perpetuated by us, our governments, our contractors, our armies. Others, well… We can’t be sure ever,  of what is true and what is cinema, can we?

Victor Ward/Johnson is a hero of our time. He’s possibly a great lover, in the sense of the dying years of the 20th century, in the crumbling empire named America. His girlfriend Chloe, the most beautiful of models, dies an atrocious death in Paris, capital of terrorism – after all the word was coined there! The impostor who stalks Victor, and eventually substitutes himself to him, bed his women, gets his money, and is the only victor, blessed by Johnson senior, presidential hopeful: for so it is that lies trump truth, and the beautiful people be damned.

Read Glamorama, there is one of the keys to our times.

The End of the Challenge #AtoZChallenge #WritersWednesdays

The End of the Challenge

O There is always an anticlimax at the end, like finishing the first reading of a beloved book.  But, somehow, one of the posts has given me an idea.  Doing research for the Challenge leads sometime to old friends, or friends one did not expect to have.  Thus I have met Régine Deforges, a celebrated writer and hell raiser in her own time.  From Régine I have promised myself to read several books, and more about those in due time.  For now I have picked up a new project: translating and commenting on Régine’s “O m’a dit” (© Société Nouvelle des Editions Jean-Jacques Pauvert, 1975, Nouvelle Edition, Pauvert, 1995), her 1975 interview – sorry – “entretiens” with Pauline Réage, author of Histoire d’O.  In fact there is yet another idea beyond this, but for the latter, my readers may have to look elsewhere in these pages.

I think a translation of “O m’a dit” in English already exists (if so I have not read it), but I relish the idea of doing something my own way, with my own bias.  “O m’a dit” is a fascinating piece of journalism and critique, one of only two interviews Pauline gave in her lifetime.  When, in 1975, Pauline and Régine met they were already friends, and they talked about O, of course, but also about many subjects they were keen to discuss: in those lines one can read the weight of their own success – published and successful author of one world-famous book for Pauline, Régine of many to come – as well of their phantasms.  Well, enough for now, and more later.  What I am planning to do is to translate (I think the whole text: 170 pages) and post in small chunks with comments, hopefully of interest to you, reader, and I’d probably do that every Wednesday or so under the tag #WritersWednesday!

So, what about the Challenge?  Well, it is now over for 2013, and I published the last post yesterday!  It has been most enjoyable, and I found it easier than last year, which was my first year of participation.

 

#toptenbooks

In response to:

http://kdrush.com/Main/content.php/179-The-TopTenBooks-Challenge

#10 The Kindly Ones (Les Bienveillantes) by Jonathan Littell:

I have listed this harrowing account of evil as I was surprised by the description of Europe’s worst nightmare by a young American author, who, besides, wrote in French. This is a giant of a book, and the horror is not  imagined, it was so.

#9 The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy:

A quintessential account of a horrific murder by a master of controversy. Somehow this book talked to me, and, yes, I felt for the Black Dahlia.

#8 The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C Clarke

Part from “inventing” the Space Elevator Arthur Clarke – who also predicted accurately the geostationary communication satellites – showed in this novel how to marry technology and spiritualism, a feat of fiction but also a lesson for living. I read it as an adolescent, and am still reading it.

#7 The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

Well, it’s a classic. When I first read it – a few years back! – my English was still hesitant, and I struggled. A few years later (still well before the films) I fully appreciated what a masterpiece of language and adventures this was.

#6 The Magus by John Fowles

The mystery of youth, John Fowles’s first novel and to my mind his best. I travelled to that greek island in a dream, one of the inspirations for “The Page” (not a plug!)

#5 The Stand by Stephen King

Read it four times, and this is not the last time. One of the great novels of the second half of the last century, I am still in wonder. I cried for Fanny. I would have nuked the evil too.

#4 The Plague (La Peste) by Albert Camus

A unique allegory of what it was like in Europe under the fascist boot. Written in 1947, it is the account of ordinary courage and its opposite by a man of high values and principles. I think it’s as valid a read today as it was then.

#3 Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

Pynchon’s greatest book, set at the end of WWII in London and Northern Germany. This book typifies for me the absurdity of the last (hopefully) European civil war, a shower of rockets, the ruins of cities, yet humour and love. I fell for that mischievous Dutch girl, yes I did…

#2 A La Recherche du Temps Perdu by Marcel Proust

My bible of introspection. The language is unique, the mix of longing, eroticism and splendour is irresistible.

#1 La Chartreuse de Parme by Stendhal

The greatest love story of all times! To my mind one the summits of Western literature. Period.

Cover of "The Black Dahlia"

Cover of The Black Dahlia