sexta-feira, outubro 27, 2017

The Man-With-No-Middle-Name: "No Middle Name - The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories" by Lee Child


Everyone is equal, but is he or her the most human? Does Jack Reacher, the man-with-no-middle-name, embody many men?

I'm surprised people that are interested in books don't take the opportunity to step back and recognise the multi-cultic hogwash that has made contemporary literary criticism so predictable and boring. So much criticism I see and read, myself included, is completely bollocks, but as essays (or assays), they’re still a wonder to read.

There are so many blatant untruths about human nature that people are expected to recite whenever they say anything that it just takes the edge out of everything, even when it comes to Lee Child and his Jack Reacher.

It's not unknown for writers of fiction to develop many characters over time, in order for them to have more structure, content, more substance, capable of exuding humanity from the innately indifferent pages of a novel. So, Pessoa was obsessed with character, a creative artist who took aspects of his art much further than anyone else? Look at a wide range of those who have or are considered to be the greats, Picasso, Dali, the great musicians and composers, most of them could have been considered obsessive in one way or another ... even Dulce Pontes could be called of as healthily obsessive with perfection, i.e. to the right degree .... I think this used to be called "hard work and perseverance" as well as "talent" and "creativity". I suspect both Pessoa and Lee Child may prove more reliable than cyberspace at delineating humanity's ever-changing face.

To be able to construct a persona to explore and reveal a way of thinking and feeling is an art, be it Bernardo Soares, Álvaro de Campos or Lee Child. Pessoa’s life was all about seeing the multiplicity of mind while Child’s is all about the down-to-earthness of mind. The great tragedy of many human lives is that so many minds are too lazy to explore themselves. Very few people create true heteronyms: mostly, through multiple pseudonyms, they return to the same few obsessions, quirks of style, political or philosophical beliefs. Following a few supposedly shifting personae over the years has for me rather reaffirmed the idea of an irreducible core to most human subjects. Which in turn reaffirms the artistic skill of a Pessoa when opposed to someone like Child, i.e., someone able to write somehow from a point "outside himself" not once but multiple times. Child can only write Jack-Reacher-Lee-Child novels while Pessoa can only write using Álvaro-de-Campos-Bernardo-Soares-Ricardo-Reis personas. Everyone develops different personas when writing. Even writing on this blog, the character that is presented isn't much like the myself url. In political discussions, I tend to strike a much more strident tone than is natural. In order to avoid the waffly “on the one hand this, on the other hand” that approach, attitudes are pared down and tend to the more radical than I actually am. In more light-hearted pieces, the sort of humour used is more suitable for the written word than for speech, so that is another persona of sort. I dare say this is very common with people writing reviews regularly, hence all the provocation that goes on.

The very fact that it is impossible, or at least extremely hard to arrive at a true voice (does such a thing even exist?) means that personae are unavoidable, deliberately or not.

To live as a persona attached to its narrow view of its world as WeAreTheWorld seems to do is so lacking in imagination. I imagine the fact that we respond to some books in a certain way give them validity in our own dull minds.

Or as the great philosopher Spike Milligan warned us:

“I talk to the trees. That's why they put me away.”


NB: Yep. I've read another Lee Child book. Deal with it! Yes, I'm looking at you, you trolls!

6 comentários:

Book Stooge disse...

See, if we formed our classical rap tenor duo, then we could bring real peace and harmony to the world as True Understanding broke forth from us like waves from the sea.

Actually, I'd be more than likely to smack you over the head during some heated recording sessions where we have to decide whether to use a plain english word or me speaking a broken portageuse word. Then you'd retaliate and before you know it, a gun fight would have broken out right in the studio! Of course, if we "Plan" for that, we can maximize media coverage and become the main topic of the tabloids for at least a week or two. That should sell a couple hundred of cds. Then we can have a touching "reconciliation" scene and use that to sell even more cds.

Not that I'm cynical or anything ;-)


Have you watched the Jack Reacher movies? I watched the first one and it just made me laugh. Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher is just so ridiculous that only in Hollywood could it be made to work. And yet, the sequel is free on Amazon prime and I'll probably watch it at some point. Talk about lowering ones' standards :-D

Manuel Antão disse...

In a gun fight I'd lose...I never owned a gun, let alone use one. I could go to jail here... a fight with bare hands is another matter altogether though...:) I watched a lot of Bruce Lee as a kid. You wouldn't stand a chance!

Yep. I watched the first and second movies and I couldn't stop laughing as well...Cruise is too slick and doesn't have the required looming physicality(At the risk of igniting a firestorm, I do think this is a part Idris Elba could play. Reacher is white in the books but it's equally credible as a black man.) I saw the second one the other day and was surprised at how stale and generic it was. Felt like a TV movie, like a Mark Harmon holiday special. Weird thing is, I've always thought that the one thing you can say about him is that Cruise doesn't make bad films (since he became an A list movie star), I mean out and out shit films. Go figure.

All I can say is 'the mind boggles' at the effrontery of Hollywood.

Book Stooge disse...

So, is owning a gun illegal, or just so full of legal hoops to jump through that it's not worth it?

And I'll concede a bare hands fight right off. I'm too small to go up against an "average" sized guy and with no training [1 year of karate in my 20's doesn't really count] to compensate, I'd just be a punching bag :-D

Elba would definitely fit the mold for Reacher. I think Cruise is reaching the end of the line. I read a review on the new Mummy movie and they said that his performance was really lacklustre. I thought he did a good job in Edge of Tomorrow, but that's the last film I saw with him.

Manuel Antão disse...

160cm here. I'm not sure how much is that in feet...

The legal hoops you so aptly mention is so difficult that anyone embarking on that boat is going to suffer. Not worth it.

Tom Cruise, Jim Carey and Nicholas Cage all make my skin crawl and always have, can't watch anyhing they're in. Don't know why. It's one of those things...

Book Stooge disse...

2.54cm per inch. 12inches in a foot. So I would be 160cm as well. Which means you're as short as me. Are you short in Portugal, or average? Most guys here in the states range from 175-180cm. I weigh in at 75kilo's, so I'm a pretty expensive bag of coke ;-)

I actually liked Nicholas Cage in the first Ghost Rider movie. That was when I was watching ALL the superhero movies because they hadn't become a "thing" yet. Sigh, kind of wish they'd stayed small...

Manuel Antão disse...

Most guys are taller than me. But I'm smarter...At least that what I chose to believe:)

I'm a little overweight (80 Kg), but I'm working on it. It's all those Pastéis de Belém...