Sunday, October 28, 2007

Train reading

Two snippets from my reading on the London-Plymouth train. From the current London Review of Books comes a wry celebration of V. S. Naipaul by Sanjay Subrahmanyam: 'So, in the end, there is a reason why we should be grateful that Naipaul exists. With his clarity of expression and utter lack of self-awareness, he provides a window into a world and its prejudices: he is thus larger than himself.'
And so Naipaul is cast as a character in the novel of hisd own life.
My other snippet comes from Cormac McCarthy's splendid No Country for Old Men. I'm re-reading it so as to teach it, taking the chance to understand what tricks he plays to achieve his tremendous narrative drive. I paused to appreciate the following statement on truth, from the local sheriff. I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. You cant corrupt it because that's what it is. It's the thing you're talking about.
A humdinger of a truth, that one.
I might have offered more, but the trains are stopped at Tiverton Parkway on Sundays and passengers marched on to a dark bus for the rest of the journey. That led me to another truth I've learned - that book lights are worth carrying after all.


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