On Wednesday I finally finish reading The Castle by Franz Kafka and this seminal event occurs on the tube, traveling back home on the Central Line after the gym. Because The Castle is an incomplete novel which even finishes mid-sentence, I feel quite unfulfilled, I need to read something, I can’t stand there and look at other passengers, the music on my iPod is just not enough, so I pick up a free newspaper from the floor and find out that Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant at 16 and that dozens of morons still write in to complain about road tax, Posh Spice and each other’s quirks.
I actually did enjoy The Caste after all. Granted, it’s difficult to get into because the writing is so dense and each sentence lasts 16 pages, but once I got used to the style I did like it. What I really don’t like though and never will, is The Old Man and The Sea and One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Maybe it’s not the books’ fault though, maybe it’s my fault. Why did I ever think that I would enjoy the story of a demented old fisherman chasing a giant bloody fish over 100 pages (when I hate old people AND the working classes – even though I kinda like fish) or the story of some fucked up Hispanic family where everyone is brave or wise or heroic (when I can’t stand cultures further south than Austria AND I fucking hate the following concepts: honour, nobility and virtue).
Coming to think of it, these books have something in common. We are supposed to admire the main characters, because they demonstrate certain virtues. They are flawed of course (anything else would drive the readers against them) but they are noble and decent; we’re meant to look up to them. In contrast, in all the books that I love, the main characters are the complete opposite. They are anti-heroes (Patrick Bateman in American Psycho), messed up and weak (Clay in Less Than Zero, Jamie in Bright Lights Big City, even K in The Castle), shallow and vacant (Victor in Glamorama, everyone in Nick McDonell's Twelve). I’ll take a good relic, a fucked up villain, a tortured victim any day over the bleeding Old Man and His Sea. He’s old and he’s not entirely with it you know, but his is a story of immense human strength. Well fuck off.
So yeah anyway, I am not wasting my time with those two anymore, in fact if I had an open fire at home I would burn them; particularly that Ernest Hemingway one, I seriously want to destroy that one. God I thought I hated Douglas Coupland enough but this is a new high.
Anyway, I’m going back to Athens for Christmas soon. And I need a made up girlfriend. Here are two pictures of me posing with two girls from work at the Christmas party last Friday. American Girl and Pam. Who do we think suits me best? (cause it’s all about me) Please help me choose an imaginary girlfriend.
Oh yeah and finally at lunchtime on Thursday I go to the newsagent to take a look at the new issue of AXM, because I want to see if anyone sent anything to the letters' page about my article last month. Sadly this month they have had the ingenious idea to wrap it in a plastic bag, so I can't read it there in the shop. And I'm seriously not buying that, am I? So the plan is to either a) go to a bigger shop where they're not paying attention and rip the bag open and check it out then, or b) wait for a reader who's bought it to have a look and let me know if there are any references. Whatever happens first.