Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Piano is Almost Off My Back

I am in the last hundred pages of the Briggs' translation of War and Peace. I started it a month ago and have been stockpiling thoughts ever since, hopefully enough of them to write an interesting post in the next few days on this frustrating, exhilarating, purplish, cranky, windy, obsessive, heart-breaking, argumentative, and completely unstoppable Bradley Fighting Vehicle of a novel, which keeps flattening every new response I have to it. Matters for discussion: how war is a character in the book, what the novel has in common with Pynchon's Against the Day, why Tolstoy looks like God, what Tolstoy has in common weith John Coltrane, why the religious themes are both illuminating and tiresome, why translation is like music and why I'm looking forward to the new version next month by Pevear and Volokhonsky.

Then it's on to Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke, about which I am trying to keep myself completely ignorant and have grown sick and tired of not reading about.

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