Some fine new content for you at The Quarterly Conversation.
I wanted to take this period of courtship not so much to dissect it as to distend it and dilate it—the way Beethoven takes a particular moment of grace in his music and wishes to make it last—basically—forever.
If you’re in the Bay Area, Aciman is coming here on tour. Check it out (I might try hitting the one at Book Passage):
April 26 at Keplers at 7:30 PM
April 27 at Book Passage at 7:00 PM (Corte Madera Store)
April 28 at San Francisco Jewish Community Center at 8:00 PM
Turns out John like King’s writing, but not that much:
He used to be an underrated genre practitioner, but King now suffers from a surplus of critical and cultural reverence. Neither reputation suits his work, which is dependably entertaining and, with few exceptions, literarily unremarkable. I came to appreciate his novels as I wrote my undergraduate English thesis; in search of something to burn off my late-night caffeine highs, I pulled a beat-to-shit Signet paperback copy of The Stand off the shelf at the used bookstore where I worked twice a week. I was only looking for something anathema to literary theory, but ended up enjoying the book’s grisly, post-apocalyptic hellscape more than I anticipated—so much so, in fact, that I kept on reading him after graduation, still half-convinced that I was consciously slumming it, resting my reader’s batteries before picking up something worthwhile. And yet there I was, a month later, reading The Shining at the beach, bringing It on the train as I traveled toward my first job, buying a copy of Pet Sematary while visiting my sister in Ohio. And after 3,500 pages of killer clowns and zombie cats I finally grew tired of the addictively unsubtle style, but that rapid-fire introduction to King’s soulful hackwork had its effect; that time spent with his muscular, awkward prose scrubbed the last remaining bits of English-major from under my fingernails, and made me seek out science fiction, classic noir, history, even travel and nature writing. I had had enough King for one summer, but I had also grown, as a reader, to appreciate stylistic immediacy for its own sake.