"In the soft light of the foyer, my membrum, betrousered, is truly rampant."
This is the kind of crap that fills this book. Seriously. This overly flowery language does nothing but serve as a way for the author to show off how incredibly large his vocabulary is and that he can cleverly put those words together. The whole thing is a public act of mental masturbation. It sucks.
A third of the way into the book, he FINALLY stops talkign about himself (kind of) and actually gets to Sophies story, which plods along witht he swiftness of a caged elephant. His description of Hoss, the Nazi in charge of Aushwitz is a bit enlightening and entertaining, introducting the notion of the evil that was the Nazi party as one not filled withd ramatics but incredible tedium and beuracracy that overtakes the humanity inside of us, but that ended quickly enough and is all paraphrased from another writer that he cites. The first third of the book seemed completely useless as well- Sophie and Nathan (Sophie's abusive boyfriend) left the apartment building that they shared with the author, and the next chapter starts 20 years later. Its almost as if its a completely different novel, one that matches the original in boredom but in completely new and creative ways.
I did find it interesting, though, that he made mention of the downfalls of holocaust literature- "A survivor, Elie Wiesel, has written 'NOvelists made free use of [the Holocause] in their work... In so doing they cheapened [it], drained it of its substance. The Holocaust was now a hot topic, fashionable, guaranteed to gain attention and to achieve instant success...' I do not know how ultimately valid any of this is, but I am aware of the risk." He doesn't actually say WHY it isn't valid, but its funny that he atleast brought it up.
The only thing keeping me into this book is the curiosity of whether its possible for my mind to change. I have been thinking recently about pre-conceived notions in art, how they effect the work (more with thoughts on the artists than the actual work, but this relates). I KNEW I was going to hate this work going in, and now I loathe it. I wonder if I can get over that initial hatred and just merely dilike the book.