Thursday, February 26, 2009

I would prefer not to

Maybe I'm grumpy because the darling Carla didn't win Top Chef last night (and I got to bed too late after watching), but I find much to annoy me today.
  • There's the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction going to Netherland, a novel adored by one and sundry except for me. In a November blog post I called it "one more postcolonial fantasy of what life is like for those driven across the world by the crimes of colonialism--as told by the inheritor of the riches stolen from their forebears."
  • There's the announcement of the nominees list for the 2009 Orwell Prize, the website of which features this bit from George: "What I have most wanted to do ... is to make political writing into an art." They really ought to specify which type of political writing he was talking about: anti-communist. To. The. Max.
  • There's this fawning Times piece on an upcoming Zoe Heller novel that equates leftist political commitment with mindless dogmatic religiosity and has the hero find her way out of activism and toward god. Note to self: place on don't-read list. P.S. I found Notes on a Scandal to be pretty damned anti-lesbian, with the character played in the movie by Judi Dench a throwback to the bad old days of the likes of The Killing of Sister George.
  • There's the news that Richard Nash is leaving Soft Skull Press/Counterpoint. He's brought out some great books at Soft Skull. And he'd invited me to send him my manuscript a couple years ago. Not that he ever got to it. I picture it buried at the foot of a teetering, towering pile. Still, a faint hope remained. Till now.
As my lunch hour ends and I buckle back down to the endless shuffling of papers, the meaningless data and word processing, the pointless parade of minutiae that takes up the majority of my waking life at each step of which I mumble to myself Bartleby's immortal words, this, at least, brings a smile.