The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

searching for the sound

Reading Log, continued.

Finished Cheever's BULLET PARK and was amazed at how... weird it was. I didn't expect what it turned out to be, which was an experiment in narrative. Although he gets stereotyped as the chronicler of the MetroNorth suburbs, I've never found him to be a typical realist writer. His writings often take place in southwestern Connecticut, but they are not your typical New Yorker stories. "The Swimmer," his best-known story, is allegorical and classical and scary, and the WAPSHOT books take place not in Connecticut but farther up in New England. I won't spoil BULLET PARK but it's creepy and distanced and fantastic. There's a nice article about Cheever's "suburban aesthetic" on UVA's web. Anyone who's read Cheever's journals could probably attest to Cheever's scary strangeness, as well. He's got one of the strangest triumverates of obsessions I've ever seen in a writer: anonymous gay sex, the beauty of the city of Rome, and the interior life of the inhabitants of the New York City suburbs.

Read Phil Lesh's memoir SEARCHING FOR THE SOUND as well (it was sitting around the house). Not much interesting there. I've read a bunch of Grateful Dead-related books in the last year but I find nothing that explains the nature of the relationship between the band and the fans. It's a question I keep returning to, as I keep thinking about the East Coast Deadheads I went to college with. What drew them in? Was it just the drugs? No, really, after all the crap about community and oneness and blah blah, was it just the drugs?


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