Thursday, November 24, 2005

tales of love and loss

I bought a book on-line recently: a vanity-press published novel by Jamie Boud who writes a good blog and takes amazing photos. I had just finished a disappointing book that sold millions of copies (Richard Bach's The Bridge Across Forever) and I was feeling pissed off at the world of publishers who knowingly sell crap ... because it sells. Buying a self-published novel felt like a statement of defiance against the presses who often publish for the lowest common denominator and make millionaires out of questionable talent while talented writers can’t get a look in. In addition, I felt like it was a small way to support a struggling fellow artist. (I'm still waiting for mine -- any takers? :) Since Envy the Rain is also a novel of love and loss, I thought it would be interesting to make the comparison between the two.

After that kind of build up, and with something to prove, it was a tall order that Jamie's book needed to fill. In short, I enjoyed it. It was a page turner, unlike Bach's book which I had to force myself to finish. It reads like it comes directly from journal entries and with that comes an honesty and directness that I appreciate. He doesn't dress up his raw emotions with New Age philosophizing like Bach -- just lays his experiences on the table without pretending to have all the answers. On the other hand, the characters had little substance, maybe due to the journalistic nature of the book, and he appears to gain little insight from them and his experiences with them. It's almost like he's built a gritty, tragic -- if slightly overcrowded -- framework, but still needs to fill in the spaces. Knowing it's a first novel, I'm looking forward to what comes next.

Books of love and loss: my favourites combine beautiful prose with history, intrigue and deeply complex characters. My top two: Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient and Lawrence Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet.

(Apologies to the friend who recommended Bach's book to me. He may have read it at a time in his life when many of the philosophies and sentiments resonated and, having had that experience many times myself with all kinds of books, understand how useful that can be. I remember how I thought Of Human Bondage was the most perfect piece of fiction ever written at a time in my life when I felt like Maugham was speaking directly to me.)

Addendum: I got this quote from Al recently and, in the spirit of the critic who doesn't take her own words too seriously, wanted to add it:

"Critics are eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they are unable to do it themselves."
Brendan Behan


15 Comments:

Blogger ValGalArt said...

you are so talented, i love this painting! I must read this book. I don't get as much time to read as I'd like maybe cuz I'm bloggin to much! I know great things are on your path andrea!

24/11/05 1:10 PM  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

i should have said more great things! Your body of work is enormous and amazing!

24/11/05 1:34 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

What a brilliant vegetable! I love this painting. I particularly like the fac that you've featured the colour blue that I was looking out for today when I was on my artist date walk... Mind you the red root is looking very succulent - can't stay there long!

Its yonks since I read Bridge Across Forever and can't remember it at all... but that doesn't mean much... I remember books better before I've read them (tee hee)

So what sort of support are you hoping for?

24/11/05 2:38 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

I have just bought one of your T-shirts, does that count?

24/11/05 2:46 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Val: Thank you. You are too kind.

Caroline: This painting is something new for me -- combining my more colourful recent works with the white-on-black drawings I've been doing. I'm encouraged by the results and learned enough that I'm fired up to keep exploring this idea.

You're a peach to pay attention my pathetic moaning about how hard it is to make a go of it as an artist. I hope you like the t shirt!

24/11/05 2:58 PM  
Blogger cream said...

It looks like stained glass! Love it!
As for books isn't really hard to trust other people's first time recommendation? And even then, once you say you've liked a book they've told about, they will think that you'll be pleased with every single one they recommend.

Very hard!

24/11/05 3:08 PM  
Blogger Brian the Mennonite said...

I came your blog today by chance; or was it? I was on the blogger start page and watching the scrolling of recently updated blogs, and yours came up. I liked your title and here I am. I'm so glad I made it here. You have good things to say, and you say them well. Your artwork is fresh and makes the eyes travel. I'll be back.

24/11/05 5:34 PM  
Blogger The Whippy Curly Tails said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, both furry and otherwise. =^..^=

I will go back and read this post....you always have such great things to say....thanks for always giving me a fun place to go!

XXXOOO
The Whippy Curly Tails in the Toasty South!

24/11/05 6:18 PM  
Blogger The Tart said...

Happy SMOOCHgiving,

Hmmmmm, flick through....The Mystery Roast, by Peter Gadol

The Cheap Tart.

24/11/05 7:30 PM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

Love the quote. Love the painting even more.

24/11/05 10:08 PM  
Blogger LDahl said...

Hvvvvvvv! Painting so beautiful, took my breath away!!!!!!!!! Oh, this is a big favorite!!!!! WOW, like stained glass, great theme too. Tea time:))))

25/11/05 11:56 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks for the support. Sorry you were disappointed, though. Oh well, I'll try to make it up to you with the next one. If there is a next one.

25/11/05 3:09 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Jamie: it was Bach's book I was disappointed in, not yours. Yours actually proved my point. It just felt unedited to me -- too many characters to give them proper attention/analysis. You know that old saw "you have so much potential..." I really hope you write another.

25/11/05 3:33 PM  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

Hee Hee Hee... Love that quote.

26/11/05 9:14 AM  
Blogger Mick said...

I love Boud's Blog, thanks for linking to it. Now, this painting...lush, cool and just plain ol' delicious! In case I neglected to mention it, this series is my very favorite of your recent works. :)

28/11/05 7:26 PM  

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