See, I have this (Irish) cousin whom I used to be great friends with, but we haven't really seen each other for years (I think we could probably easily pick up the relationship though if we got together), and she used to get me books with a capital L for "Literature one should read". For example, she gave me Doris Lessing I think, and Solzhenitsyn, and one of the Irish writers she could me for my education was Flann O'Brien. This was back in our teens. And I did try to read it then, but I didn't get it and put it away. Now, at the age of 31, surely I'm more mature and can appreciate more things? Surely now I can read Flann O'Brien and enjoy, or at least appreciate the humour?
No. Because it's shite. Jesus, I cannot stand this type of writing. James fecking Joyce has a lot to answer for, in my opinion. This is a typical quote:
"That is the real point" said MacCruiskeen, "but it is so thin that it could go into your hand out in the other extremity externally and you would not feel a bit of it and you would see nothing and hear nothing. It is so thin that maybe it does not exist at all and you could spend half an hour trying to think about it and you could put no thought around it in the end. The beginning part of the inch is thicker than the last part and is nearly there for a fact but I don't think it is if it is my private opinion that you are anxious to enlist."
Actually, that's one of the more sensible bits. Not the best example. I gave up. It started out pretty good though, so I had some hopes. But when he starts yapping to these three policemen at the station (apparently he's dead and in limbo or something, which explains the oddness, but I still can't take it) it gets to be too much. No no no.
Then, I tried reading The Last of the Mohicans (by James Fennimore Cooper). Just for fun. Millions of young lads have plowed through this at a far tenderer age than I, so surely it must be readable?
No. This is another one to scream SHUT UP at. I had imagined that I should feel some liking for the white scout Hawk-Eye (played by Daniel Day-Lewis in the film...), but he is a petulant, wordy, self-important twit. It would send you to sleep so it would. I only got as far as I did because I was at work and had NOTHING else to do. Definitely a case of the film being better than the book, and after all the film isn't that strong either.
Interesting introduction though.