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May 30, 2006



And that's the beauty of it. Ambiguity is not a bad thing; coming up with your own conclusion is one of the draws of books like this, some of Haruki Murakami's works, films like "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset." One would think that there might be more of an audience for these type of stories - it's a video game instead of a movie, you can decide the destiny of the hero - and yet we get saddled with more every-i-dotted, every-t-crossed by-the-numbers stories. This can be anything from an intensely well-written story to a book about a museum, a code, and a bad haircut. (I couldn't resist. I didn't even try.) I just wish book clubs would pick up more on this sort of ambiguity and run with it. It's a rich mine.

Dan Wickett

To at least some degree, based on the last two selections, the LBC is very interested in these types of books.

Rebecca Jane

Yes there is redemption in the end, albeit very subtle. In the end, the "passive hero" is sitting in the dark, savoring a moment, an eternal moment, of silence. I thought that the ending suited the ruminative quality of this novel. It is an essayistic novel. I never expected it to deliver BIG plot or BIG comment on human destiny. This novel is all about noticing the significance and substance of subtle gestures and subtle moments. A perfect example is the dropped paint brush. Doesn't television work in a way that makes us disregard subtly? Toussaint's novel helps provide ways to regain the habits of a subtle consciousness. Does it not?


Ah - I didn't see your comment before I wrote my post this morning Rebecca, but "regain the habits of a subtle consciousness" says it better than I did.

It a strange way, Toussaint's attention to the subtleties and specificities of the world is also a comment on fiction itself, which is always (usually?) an attempt to make a bridge between the individual and the universal. Toussaint reminds me a little bit of Nicholson Baker in this way too - noticing things one ordinarily wouldn't notice about everyday life.

One thing I've wondered about Toussaint is to what extent his style is related to the language he writes in. I was interested to see some of the comments about the French language in recent articles about the Beckett Centenary. Here's a quote from novelist Colm Toibin:

"Mr. Toibin is also acute on Beckett's decision to write in French, translating his works into English himself, because French provided a desired quality of 'weakness' whereas English posed 'the temptation of rhetoric and virtuosity, words mirroring themselves complacently, Narcissus-like.'"

And from another piece, about his publisher Barney Rossett:

Translation was an important concern in the early correspondence. Beckett, who had lived in Paris since the 1930's, preferred to write in French, and did so almost exclusively after about 1940. (One major exception: "Krapp's Last Tape," which he wrote in English in 1957 and translated into French a year later. ) Mr. Rosset approved. 'French is a cold language,' he said. 'It damped him down; it controlled his emotions, and he knew it.'"

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is it cute?
and i'll probably curl it everyday like that, but i was wondering how someone with side bangs (me) (they come down to the bottom of my ear, so a little shorter than my chin) could curl it like hers is. should i just curl the layers or what?
help! :)

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