I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

Watch Your Valve


I suddenly feel as though I need to be more aware of my 'valve' and monitor how it can be affected by my daily life. Anyone who has read A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole will know what I mean.

I have just finished this book - one of those I always meant to get round to reading - and I find it very difficult to put into a category. I have very mixed feelings after reading it; at times I floated on its brilliance, other times I was skipping pages. Did anyone else have a similar experience on reading this novel?

The characterisation is what makes this book stand out for me; the plot comes in and out of focus, and on its own it wouldn't have been enough to keep me reading.

Ignatius - the name alone makes you ready to welcome this character in - is worth getting to know. He's unique in literature but someone you can easily imagine. His rants were very entertaining, even though they did tend to slant towards the tedious every now and then.

The attempt to write the dialogue in the way it would sound in New Orleans was also less than consistent and distracting at times. I felt that the direction of the book goes a bit astray about two thirds in, and I was left feeling a bit lost, only to be swept back onto the path for the very satisfying end - although I did want more for Ignatius' mother.

I don't like reviews that give away a plot, so I won't do that here. Suffice to say that this book is worth reading for its originality and its place in literature is definitely earned. It's also very funny in places, and that can be very welcome in a society that is creating more and more pressure on our valves.

3 comments:

Catarina Morgado said...

Great characters, strange book!Probably the strangest I'll ever read..Probably the strangest Pullitzer ever!!!

By the way...great blog!! If you don't mind I'll come around more often!!

Shameless said...

hey catarina, glad you like the blog... i checked out your pages but Portuguese was my weak subject at school...

R said...

I'm reading this book right now and I shamefully admit, that I feel shallow because I don't quite understand the cult-like following behind it. Am I enjoying it? Definately. Do I laugh out loud when I'm reading it? Absolutely. Have I used my valve as an excuse to take a two-hour lunch? You better believe it.