Haha, just kidding. I’m not reviewing that shit–you can’t pay me to read a whole book of petty white middle-class suburban bollocks that matter to no one but other petty white middle-class suburban insects. No fear though, I skimmed through the fucking thing and have collected some quotes to share. For a sample:
Together he and Fats had become connoisseurs of silicone-enhanced breasts, enormous, taut and round.
‘Plastic,’ one of them would point out, matter of factly, as they sat in front of the monitor with the door wedged shut against Fats’ parents. The on-screen blonde’s arms were raised as she sat astride some hairy man, her big brown-nippled breasts hanging off her narrow rib cage like bowling balls, thin, shiny purple lines under each of them showing where the silicone had been inserted. You could almost tell how they would feel, looking at them: firm, as if there were a football underneath the skin. Andrew could imagine nothing more erotic than a natural breast; soft and spongy and perhaps a little springy, and the nipples (he hoped) contrastingly hard.
And all of these images blurred in his mind, late at night, with the possibilities offered by real girls, human girls, and the little you managed to feel through clothes if you managed to move in close enough.
Yes, the book’s full of this creepy male-gaze shit. Also a lot of “cunt” and such, which lets you know this is a Truly Grown-Up Book That’s Not For Kids. I understand there’s rape, pedophilia and the like in it as well, which as R Scott Bakker and assorted purveyors of grimdark have shown us are the true hallmarks of maturity and literary erudition.
The Casual Vacancy – digested read
“Fairbrother’s dead?” roared Howard, but then Howard was as prone to roaring as an angry lion effervescing in the atmosphere since he was the archetypal reactionary Middle Englander, a man as flabbily obese as this prose.
Simon, Arf, Maureen, Gavin, Gaia and Kay all fluttered like a foetus with fear at the prospect of being minor characters with little development for the next 500 pages. “It’s all right for you lot,” Sukhinder moaned as softly as a not very cruel wind. “You’re only representative of a single issue. I’m Asian and a self-harmer.”
The Casual Vacancy – hoping to work the old magic
JK Rowling’s new book has been out less than 24 hours and some who have read it all have admitted tears at the ending.
And that’s how she wants it: “I don’t think I would have much to say to anyone who did not at least tear up a bit,” she told an audience. ”I don’t think I could have any kind of warm feeling towards someone who didn’t feel sad towards the end.”
Madam, people reading this should be breaking out in tears of joy when they reach the end if only because it is the end and there’s no more of this fucking terrible shit they have to read, but expecting self-awareness from Rowling may be like expecting a dead squirrel to do trigonometry. The New York Times may be the only major rag that’s given it a negative review, but I’m not sure the reviewer is entirely a trustworthy reader with gems like:
Many authors, of course, have created portraits of small-town life that capture the texture of ordinary lives with great depth of emotion. This, alas, is not the case here. Whereas the Harry Potter universe was as richly imagined and intricately detailed as Tolkien’s Middle Earth or L. Frank Baum’s Oz, Pagford seems oddly generic — a toy village, in which rooftops pop off to reveal adultery, marital discord and generational conflict among the tiny toy people.
In some respects “The Casual Vacancy” is grappling with many of the same themes as the Harry Potter books: the losses and burdens of responsibility that come with adulthood, and the stubborn fact of mortality. One of the things that made Harry’s story so affecting was Ms. Rowling’s ability to construct a parallel world enlivened by the supernatural, and yet instantly recognizable to us as a place where death and the precariousness of daily life cannot be avoided, a place where identity is as much a product of deliberate choice as it is of fate. What’s missing here is an emotional depth of field. It’s not just because the stakes in this novel are so much smaller. (In “Harry Potter,” the civil war was literally between good and evil; here, it is between petty, gossip-minded liberals and conservatives.) It’s that the characters in “The Casual Vacancy” feel so much less fully imagined than the ones in the Harry Potter epic.
Though I guess next to The Casual Vacancy even the HP books, mindless subliterate dreck that they are, would look pretty good and pretty deep. Having said that, why don’t you go read some better books, dear person? Read the comments by the way, very fun. Of all the tangents!
How on earth can anyone call Tolkien mysogynistic? He had many strong female characters, and one of my favorite feminist-empowering lines is spoken by Eowyn. Examples:
* Galadriel is described as every bit as strong and intelligent as her male relatives, and is clearly the primary ruler of Lorien, although she and Celeborn are technically jointly in charge.
* Luthien takes a large, active part in the story of Luthien and Beren, directly confronting numerous villains (including Sauron and Morgoth, Sauron’s leader). She also saves Beren, who is male.
* Eowyn defeats the lord of the Nazgul. She also gives Aragorn a scathing dressing-down when he tells her she should stay out of the battle, saying: “All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more. … I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear pain or death.”
Really now. On which note I suppose it could be useful to compare whether Tolkien or JK Rowling is the bigger racist and sexist. Tough contest, man.