Haut or not
Haut or Not: A couplet
Folks, here’s sneak (albeit pixelated) look at what the fiction editor of Night Train reads. Tempted as I was to ask her to resend a higher resolution pic, I thought about the ‘visual vocabulary of spines,’ how we’ve come to recognize a book by its design — how the spine often acts as an abbreviated version of the cover, in terms of color, fonts, etc. The title’s legibility is often not as important as the spine’s thematic composition. Yes, you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge how sauve the publisher is; and the publisher hires the editor that judges the book — so in the end it’s related. Matthew Simmons, who works at a bookstore, has a knack for pointing out books. So, what do you see?
Bear with me while I indulge in Carver (nice touch on the torn-off cover there). Someone once told me that Carver’s stories are about ‘defeated realization,’ wherein the characters arc towards moments of profound self-truth, only to recoil, perhaps horrified by what they realize. The restraint and clarity with which Carver (c/o Lish) conveys this provided moments etched in my ‘reader’s experience’ forever. The phrase ‘surburban surrealism’ comes to mind (Rick Moody and even Douglas Coupland plays with this idea I think), a kind of emotional grotesqueness under the most prosaic and benign conditions. I have difficulty with Short Cuts, a tie-in edition for the film, since the stories were not conceptually collated by Carver or his publisher. Regardless, all this Carver is, well, I think you know where I’m going.
Rating: [illegibility reprieve/Carver default] Haut
Brads cracks a joke about painfully dropping 2666 on his toe, which brings to mind a similar comment by Kathryn Regina (in this Haut or Not series) about tripping over The Fountainhead. I think the inherent hubris of writing a huge tomb of a book is not always met with respect. (In another unpictured entry, Musil’s The Man Without Qualities sucks the air from nearby books.) I’m thrilled to see what looks like a very early edition of Pale Fire, wrapped in that crispy cellophane I miss so much. Not sure about all the Updike and Murakami, the latter who in some odd yet invariable way, is slowly migrating into the former’s position as ‘the guy who writes the books that are all kinda the same.’ Brad’s heart is in the right place, but I ain’t feeling it.