Recognitions

Gaddis, William. The Recognitions. New York: Penguin Books, 1985.

Confessional! What do you get when you combine these factors: a reading list still over 4,000 titles long, Book Challenge rules which address when to not read a book, and a book 956 pages long with a plot no one can explain? Me, quitting this book! I read plenty of other reviews urging me to “stick with it” and to “keep reading despite the nonsense.” Can’t do it. Not one of the reviews really told me what the book was about except in some obscure and round-about way involving art, religion and the postmodern condition, all the (many) characters are seemingly adrift with endless and pointless dialogues, and there never seemed to be an end to the literacy allusions and absurdity. There. I said it. Hated it with two thumbs down. Maybe, when I’m feeling a bit more scholarly and have all the time in the world, I’ll pick it up again. Or not.

Reason read: Gaddis was born in December…tried to read in his honor.

Author fact: As I mentioned before, Gaddis was born in December. He also died in December.

Book trivia: The Recognitions is a whopping 956 pages long. No wonder I didn’t finish it.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “The Postmodern Condition” (p 190). Interestingly enough, Gaddis won TWO National Book Awards for subsequent works. Neither title, Carpenter’s Gothic or A Frolic of His Own, is on my list. Instead, I’m supposed to read the book critics called a failure.

Edited to add: This cracked me up. I posted this review elsewhere and got the following comment, “Your recent excoriating review of my first novel really hurt my feelings. Do you think you could at least finish my novel before rendering such a harsh and summary judgment upon it? Please, I suffered long and hard for that book, I implore you to give it another chance, to finish it.

Best wishes,
Bill”
I’ve never had anyone implore me to do anything, except maybe an ex to take him back. This, from a ghost. Too funny.



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