Monday, September 27, 2010

What's To Fear?

I am only so intelligent.
It is marginal.
As Winnie-The-Pooh said, "I am a bear of little brain."
Having finished John Fowles [1982] novel entitled Mantissa tonight, wow, I am reminded of the limitations of my mental capacities.
It's a deep novel. To quote that famous bear again, umm… I "drowned-ed."
When it comes to oxygen levels, I was gasping.
I was reminded of the guy in the used-book lineup… looking over my shoulder when I snapped up this Mantissa book for a measly $1.00 just days ago… "That book is very different," he said.
"Different than what?" I asked.
"Different than his other books," and then he walked away.
I noted his severely pale legs [always a sign of over-intelligence] and his hairless cue-ball of a head [further proof that even our blood-temperature is not the same]… even though my own tonsure is arriving faster than I would like -- anyhow, I gave it a shot, based on the fact that I loved Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman so much -- re
ad it last month -- but yeah, this one proved to be
a difficult beastie.
One of those books where what's happening is not really... happening.
Bears of little brain smell smoke quickly, when engaged with these sort of things.
So I am thankful to set this aside and turn to a reliable standby. William Trevor. -->
His latest novel -- Love and Summer.
See -- he's baldish, but he always wears a HAT!
And his face is all wrinkled-y.
What's a semi-retarded bear to fear?



Stefanie said...

Ah Cip, your bear brain is bigger than you give it credit for!

Chumley said...

How odd, only last week I was reshelving some books, Fowles' Mantissa being one of them and I decided I would read it. Somehow I had a preconceived notion of its contents, but I had quite deceived myself, for it was not what I expected! Managed about thirty pages. Your having finished the book may spur me on to try and complete reading this rather perplexing fictional exercise. No doubt fodder for many a PhD. Cheers.

Dorothy W. said...

I really enjoyed the French Lieutenant's Woman, so it's good to know that his other books are different (or at least that this one is), so I won't be surprised!

Anonymous said...

I liked Mantissa, but it is a cerebral read more than an emotional one, like FLW. You have to enjoy the allusions and the postmodern wordplays, I guess. I found that, thinking back on this book, I remembered technique more than I remembered having a genuine emotional feel for the characters.
It's worth the time if you enjoy a quasi-experimental novel. Fowles is playing with us and the genre.

Cipriano said...

Interesting you should mention this. As a child I was diagnosed with encephalitis, and the problem has just gotten worster with the decades......

Chug on there! I have said negative things about the book, but really there is some ore in them hills -- of a glitter my own eyes were not attuned to recognizing.

Wasn't French Lieutenant's Woman a beauty of a book? I loved it. I DEVOURED it. I still have much faith in Fowles, and shall read his other works, undaunted by this one.

I feel as though I know you. You are so right... Fowles, playing with us. Thinking of his French Lieutenant's Woman over against Mantissa, I am reminded of a similar dalliance, involving two books by another master -- Vladimir Nabokov.
Lolita [<-- sheer genius. Wonderful.].
Invitation to a Beheading [<-- Surely the man is on crack!]