Last week I checked in and uttered my dismay at “The French Lieutenants Woman.” Following my own advice I put it down, slowly backed away and picked up another to devour. This time the pick was so much better and interesting and funny and real.
I’ve never heard of Jonathan Franzens “The Corrections” and for that I am a bit ashamed. I’m only half way through it, but the book has me so engrossed I hate putting it down. The chronicles of one family’s everyday struggles an insights strikes so close to everyone who picks it up and reads it. The crazy, shameful, real antics that ensue are things that the reader can relate to in their own family to a certain level; it puts the “I have a crazy family” line as such a common place occurrence we all have and if not, then it leaves the reader thanking God for not making their family as offbeat as this one.
I’m really looking forward to recapping it as soon as I finish. Until then though I stumbled across something while reading that I had to stop and reexamine. See I’m the kind of reader who has a few OCD like pet peeves, such as: when you are reading a book and find that the typeface/print is laid out just so, that occasionally there are consecutive spaces falling in a perpendicular succession creating annoying breaks in the page. Or abnormal structure, I’m not sure why I notice it, I’m certain I commit enough offenses against sentence structure myself that one wouldn’t think I’d pick up on it. Though this one, this one is a doozy that I’ve never seen before. I now present you with the longest sentence I have ever read (I reread it 10+ times just making sure.)
He began a sentence: “I am-” but when he was taken by surprise, every sentence became an adventure in the woods; as soon as he could no longer see the light of the clearing from which he’d entered, he would realize that the crumbs he’d dropped for bearings had been eaten by birds, silent deft darting things which he couldn’t quite see in the darkness but which were so numerous and swarming in their hunger that it seemed as if they were the darkness, as if the darkness weren’t uniform, weren’t an absence of light but a teeming and corpuscular thing, and indeed when as a studious teenager he’d encountered the word “crepuscular” in Mckay’s Treasury of English Verse, the corpuscles of biology had bled into his understanding of the word, so that for his entire adult life he’d seen in twilight a corpuscularity, as of the graininess of the high-speed film necessary for photography under conditions of low ambient light, as of the woods whose darkness was the darkness of starlings blotting out the sunset or black ants storming a dead opossum, a darkness that didn’t just exist but actively consumed the bearings that he’d sensibly established for himself, lest he be lost; but in the instant of realizing he was lost, time became marvelously slow and he discovered hitherto unguessed eternities in the space between one word and could only stand and watch as time sped on without him, the thoughtless boyish part of him crashing on out of sight blindly through the woods while he, trapped, the grownup Al, watched in oddly impersonal suspense to see it the panic-stricken little boy might, despite no longer knowing where he was or at what point he’d entered the woods of this sentence, still manage to blunder into the clearing where Enid was waiting for him, unaware of any woods- “packing my suitcase,” he heard himself say.