Pale Wire (Popscene)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Short Stack


I'm fresh back from the International House of Pancakes, where I rolled through the second half of Black Hawk Down. It took five hours, or two pitchers of coffee, depending on how you look at it.

Mark Bowden's book doesn't need any more notice, but, for whatever this is worth, I'd like to give it my official seal of approval.

Milan Kundera's Book of Laughter and Forgetting is a collection of seven short stories that alternates between conventional narrative and the author's first-person voice. It's a provocative book, but the fiction often feels flaccid. It seems Kundera resorted to the first person because he wasn't skillful or inspired enough to express his message in fiction. It does, however, provide a fitting home for several of the Czech author's more memorable aphorisms. They include:

Love is a continual interrogation.

and

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.

In other news, I may be a masochist. A new copy of William Strunk's stern textbook The Elements of Style has sent my body into quivers of delight.

Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise.

The thrill is almost prurient. I feel a sudden empathy for Marv Albert.