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» One Touch Football - Archive » Books » The Corrections (Page 1)

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Author Topic: The Corrections
Sir Moses Hill
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Page three - Ringing throughout the house was an alarm bell that no one but Alfred and Enid could hear directly. It was the alarm bell of anxiety.

Page nine - The gray dust of evil spells and the cobwebs of enchantment thickly coated the old electric arc furnace...

Page nine - The chair was overstuffed, vaguely gubernatorial. It was made of leather, but it smelled like the inside of a Lexus. Like something modern and medical and impermeable that you could wipe the smell of death off easily, with a damp cloth, before the next person sat down to die in it.

Deary me. Tell me it gets better. Should I read on?

[ 26-12-2002, 09:54: Message edited by: Sir Moses Hill ]

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ptang Yang
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yes and yes.
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Tubby Isaacs
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It needs to on the evidence of this. Alarm bell of anxiety?!
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Sir Moses Hill
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Spot on, ptang.

Finished it 10 minutes into 2003, and it was magnificant (barring the first 20 pages).

It's a depressing and sad book. Not one family member is happy, or even content. And none are at peace with any other.

However, it's also a very funny book, midwestern values and lifestyle reminding me so much of those from where I hail. It made me dread my parents growing old. I never want to watch my father piss himself, but one day I may.

I liked the way the story was told from a different perspective every hundred pages or so. After reading about Chip I didn't want to move on to Gary and after not wanting to stop Gary's story I was immersed in Denise.

It's a much different style from either of the two books I'd read immediately beforehand (Atonement and The Great Gatsby) and so at first it took some getting used to. It wasn't a dumbing down but it was an easier read. Deserves the critical acclaim not least for it's breadth (lots of imagination, hundreds of stories), as well, of course, for it's insight into Parkinson's Disease, Alzeimer's Disease, depression, and the changing nature of family relationships.

[ 03-01-2003, 10:27: Message edited by: Sir Moses Hill ]

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The Horse
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I quite liked the third of your extracts. Am I crazy?
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Sir Moses Hill
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The death references were a bit naff, I thought. Trying too hard.
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Johnny Shedd
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I bought it the other day on the strength of the cover blurb. After the first 5 or 6 pages I had exactly the same thoughts as SMH. Having read your comments I'll give it another go.

Gubernatorial. Now there's a word.

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Chopped Up Man
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Keep with it, Keith, Sir Moses is absolutely right. The first twenty pages are an exam Franzen has set for Oprah watchers, pass that and the rewards are there in spades. Each of the characters is unhappy and, from some perspective, unlikeable, but the switching narrative gains your sympathy every time.
From the outside Alfred's fumbling interaction with the real world is bleakly hilarious but his nightmarish confusion is brilliantly realised and genuinely unsettling, and I found the end of Gary's section uncommonly moving.

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steveeeeeeeee
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Got this delivered from Amazon this morning, really looking forward to reading it at the weekend as I've got bugger all else to do.

It's great when you get a new book because it really spurs you on to finish the book you're currently reading, quick time. I've got 30 pages of Repossession by Julian Cope to get through, hopefully I'll get them finished by Thursday, but I've got a busy week this week.

Of the 3 books I ordered from Amazon last week, two are recommendations from OTF, they being The Corrections and As Serious as your life by Valerie Wilmer. I want to finish The Corrections asap so I can get on to Wilmer's jazz critique. But yeah, my point, my point is that OTF is great for book recommendations.

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Johnny Shedd
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Having crawled through the mud of the first twenty pages I've reached the 'Gary' section. You're all right - it was worth it. The Christmas comments (on both sides) are setting off a lot of OTF style DINGS with me. But then I suspect they will with most people.
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steveeeeeeeee
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Finished it at the weekend and I thought it was fantastic.

**** SPOILER ****

It was weird, I was expecting the final section to be a huge showdown between the various members of the family over the Christmas dinner table. But it never came to that, in fact all you get is Gary asking if he can have a word with Enid and Alfred in the short gap between finishing breakfast and having to catch a plane.

Confrontation is avoided by everyone thinking they know what is right for one another and nobody willing to accept what the other really wants. Maybe this because nobody actually knows what they want in life other than what others have and they haven't got.

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Johnny Shedd
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Steve: If you liked that, you'll like this (maybe)-

'I Know This Much Is True' by Wally Lamb.

It's a naff title and he's got a dodgy name but this is a BIG American novel. The story weaves in and around the lives of a pair of 40 something twins. One is schizophrenic and has cut his hand off in protest at the bombing of Iraq during the Gulf War. He is locked away and his brother tries to get him moved to another, better, hospital.

It's very John Irving but better.

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steveeeeeeeee
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Cheers Keith, sounds wicked, I've added it to my wish list on Amazon.
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Johnny Shedd
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Strangely enough, I compared it to John Irving completely forgetting that his last novel was also about hand amputation.
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Johnny Shedd
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Just a point about The Corrections: I want to see if anyone agrees with me. In the book, Chip is constantly rewriting a novel which he realises contains the word 'breasts' about a hundrded times in the first 50 pages. To make the book more 'highbrow' he writes a deep and meaningful opening piece to impress publishers. Would I be correct in assuming that that may be an in-joke on the opening 20 pages of The Corrections. A few of us have said that we almost gave up because of the style at the beginning but were rewarded with sex, drugs and rock n roll. Rather like Chip's book.
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