Wednesday, January 21, 2009


...or so critics/reviewers/readers of the English version of Omega Minor (oh, gimme a break, you don't want actual links here, do you?) have told me.

To which I have replied: (...)

That is, I am too lazy, too tired, and too g*ddamn blasé to actually take the trouble to defend my literary choices, to stand up for the carnal incarnations of my imagination. Plus, you know, postmodern guy and all that: The text, my friends, nothing but the text, and @#$& the author! @#$&! I say! (And hang the DJ while you're at it.)

Still. It nags. Can they not read, those self-declared Friends of Letters, those self-assured Pruners in the Gardens of the Word, those perilous potentates of semi-porous poetics, those gaudy groundhogs grinding their teeth underneath my bed? The writer tries to shrug it off, but oh -- the gnashing and gnawing at his feet!

Well. One reader, so it seems, can. And did. And wrote about it.

Lazy I still am, so read, if you must, Mr. Lambert's blog entry, wasted on my ever-shrinking novel. (Mr. Lambert is not lazy: He wastes a whole damn blog entry on my frigging no-good death-of-me broke-my-back brick of a book.)

An excerpt (including an excerpt):

The novel opens with a description of a sexual encounter that sets the tone for most of the sex in the novel. There isn’t that much of it in terms of pages, but what there is shares a relentless, near-pornographic quality that might have something to do with Verhaeghen’s not being a native speaker. It’s a strange amalgam of the poetic, the urological and the simply weird, as in this extract from the second page:

Behold the purple head that sways so swiftly on its heavy stalk; see how it glistens with her spit and juices; watch the little crater at the top spit out its zigzag line—out shoots the slime, the whirling weathervane, the drunken comet that climbs past the stars: In the moist cloud chamber of Donatella’s room, a signal lights up in silvery white, an almost perfect circle described by the tumbling ribbon of spunk, an acrobatic snake snapping at—but missing—its own tail: an ancient Greek symbol, the latter Omega, capitalized—Ω.

This opening scene does more than establish the tone and central elements of the novel’s theme. Crucially, the sexual act is being described not by a protagonist, but by someone who observes, himself unobserved. The novel is deeply concerned with what it means to be a witness, and with the kind of power, and lack of power, this involves. It goes beyond this to question the nature and permeability of the boundaries we draw between those who act and those who watch, and how historical and personal blame should be apportioned between these two groups, taking into account the extent to which any distinction made between them might be facile, or false. Dangerous ambiguities are evoked as the novel progresses – through confession and dissimulation - and even the aphoristic moral certainty of such a sentence as “There is a world of difference between an act that is permitted and an act that is permissible” is undermined by what the novel does.
What the man says, man.

Why do the readers who, the writer feels, understand always have to live too far away to simply buy them an honest beer?


Charles Lambert said...

At this point perhaps the most post-modern thing we can do is continue to generate text around the text, so I just wanted to say that I think, and hope, my comments on your book reflected not only my qualms but also my enthusiasm for it. I was impressed, moved, encouraged to think, irritated, and impressed all over again - I hope it showed!

I also ego surf...

Charles Lambert said...

I forgot to say. I'd love a beer.

Charles Lambert said...

My final comment, but I couldn't resist. The new verification word is "beato". I feel anointed.

Sergio C. Gutiérrez-Negrón said...

I'm still playing around with this sentence:
"...shares a relentless, near-pornographic quality that might have something to do with Verhaeghen’s not being a native speaker."
Because not being a native speaker explains everything. It does for me, at least. Not being a native speaker myself.