“Scott Fitzgerald stole Zelda’s ideas, plagiarized her diaries and even pushed her into an affair. He was arguably the worst husband of his generation — and that made him its best author…” — Salon Magazine.
While interesting, this book is toeing the line between being a seriously academic work and one of light marshmallow fluff. i don’t like that combination. Maybe it’ll get better. But i normally like my academics straight up, smothered in footnotes (or endnotes, or just plain citations!!!), and i like my fluff just plain airy and delicious.
addendum: i take it back- fast food nation is thoroughly researched and endnoted. i was just too lazy to look for the notes. and the fluff is only to break up the tedium. it’s good stuff.
THE LITTLE FLOWERS OF SAINT MACK
Doc laid ten big starfish out on a shelf, and he set up a line of eight glass dishes half filled with sea water. Although he was inclined to carelessness in his living arrangements his laboratory technique was immaculate. The making of the embryo series gave him pleasure. He had done it hundreds of time before, and he felt a safety in the known thing –no speculation here. He did certain things and certain other things followed. There is comfort in routine.
His old life came back to him –a plateau of contentment with small peaks of excitement but none of the jagged pain of original thinking, none of the loneliness of invention. His phonograph played softly, played the safe and certain fugues of Bach, clear as equations. As he worked, a benign feeling came over him. He liked himself again as he once had; liked himself as a person, the way he might like anyone else. The self-hatred which poisons so many people and which had been irritating him was gone for the time. The top voice of his mind sang peacefulness and order, and the raucous middle voice was gentle; it mumbled and snarled but it could not be heard. The lowest voice of all was silent, dreaming of a warm safe sea.
Manhattan Transfer may be the best book I’ve read all year. It was my first foray into Dos Passos-land, and I’m prepared to fully gorge myself with all his works now.
best collection of short stories i’ve ever read.