Sunday, September 03, 2006
Wherein Mindy June Had to Stop Reading "The Corrections"
Last week I told Mindy June I was planning to read this book at some point.
"Oh my God. I can't stand that book."
"When did you read it?"
"I didn't. I got part way through it and I had to stop."
"Because not one character had any redeeming quality whatsoever. Plus, a specific thing happened at one point that made me decide I had no need to continue reading that book."
"What was it?"
"Trust me, if you get to it, you will know immediately. Even my book club wouldn't keep reading after that."
"Was it a sex thing?"
"I'm not discussing this with you. If you want to read it, go ahead. But when you get to the part that made me decide to stop reading, you will know."
Well, we love a challenge over here at CPW! So of course, I had to check The Corrections out from the library immediately.
So far, I'm kind of enjoying the book. She is definitely right that most of the characters are not very nice. This Jonathan Franzen obviously doesn't think too highly of humanity.
I am only on page 83 right now, so please do not give me any spoilers in your comments.
However, I suspect I may have come to the part that made Mindy quit reading. And if this isn't it, I can't wait for what must be up ahead.
The following occurs on pages 76-77. If you do not want to know what happens, stop reading now. (Parents, you may also want to keep your kids away from this next paragraph.)
It was early January and the woods around Carparts Creek were soggy with melting snow. Only the shopping-center sky above central Connecticut and the digital readouts of his home electronics cast light on his carnal labors. He was kneeling at the feet of his chaise and sniffing its plush minutely, inch by inch, in hopes that some vaginal tang might still be lingering eight weeks after Melissa Paquette had lain here. Ordinarily distinct and identifiable smells - dust, sweat, urine, the dayroom reek of cigarette smoke, the fugitive afterscent of quim - became abstract and indistinguishable from oversmelling, and so he had to pause again and again to refresh his nostrils. He worked his lips down into the chaise's buttoned navels and kissed the lint and grit and crumbs and hairs that had collected in them. None of the three spots where he thought he smelled Melissa was unambiguously tangy, but after exhaustive comparison he was able to settle on the least questionable of the three spots, near a button just south of the backrest, and give it his full nasal attention. He fingered other buttons with both hands, the cool plush chafing his nether parts in a poor approximation of Melissa's skin, until finally he achieved sufficient belief in the smell's reality - sufficient faith that he still possessed some relic of Melissa - to consummate the act.
Was that it, Min?
ps: Remember, commenters, no spoilers! I'm still reading!