The Girl Booker

The Girl Booker

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Importance Of Being Wilde

The British toff fiction I mentioned the other day is The Picture Of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde). I had only read the first few pages and was so in love with it that I was already thinking ahead to the Evelyn Waugh's and D. H. Lawrence's that I planned to devour, just so that I could maintain the illusion of being in that world for a little longer.

Now, however, I am up to chapter 5 and I am struggling. To begin with I was dazzled by the viscosity of the sentences and phrases that pitched and rolled flowed through my mind as I read. But now I feel I am being bogged down with annoyingly clever, pithy quips and quotes, and the substance of the book seems to have disappeared.

I have never read it before but of course know the story's basic premise. It seems to be taking an awfully long time to get there. Nevertheless I will persevere because it is a Classic, because it is not too long (finger's crossed for the Anna Karenina currently on my kitchen table), and because Wilde wrote the book before reality TV was invented, so one should be forgiving of what seems to be slow paced.

Who knows when I'll finish it or what i'll think of it by the end... The huge tower of books by my bed is composed of a fair amount of meaty, Serious Literature: Andre Makine, Nabokov, Richard Yates, which will take a lot of time and brain power to get through. Despite that I picked up a couple of new books today and have started reading a historical biography. When I eventually manage to finish one complete book in the middle of this mess i will feel a true sense of achievement but it could take a while so don't hold your breath.

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