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Friday, February 18, 2011



What is the value of the "Spark of Life" in literature?  

This is weighing on me as I just finished my wholly-negative consideration of Joyce's flat "After the Race" from Dubliners, and amidst a casual reading the reputedly terrible The Riddle of the Traveling Skull (full review with photographs coming within a week or so) by the once-famous (quite some time ago and not for so very long) Harry Stephen Keeler.

I can only describe Keeler's book as ecstatically bad.  The writing and subject are ridiculous--ridiculous as in freaking absurd--so far over-the-top as to disappear into the stratospheric yellow glare of its own blinding, cloudless hyperbole.  Joyce, on the other hand--well, we all know about Joyce.

Keeler's book, as bad as it is, is impossible to put down and virtually trembling--crackling--with that spark of life.  I can hardly believe that I'm caring as I do about these absurd characters and their absurder plights.  Meanwhile--  Well, read my review of "After the Race."

My functioning definition of the "spark of life" comes from the preface of Yann Martel's Life of Pi.


  1. I think that "After the Race" is becoming your "Social Network"....

  2. HAHA!

    (But where -- :) -- are my intelligent detractors?)


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