Saturday, January 12, 2013

An Uncomfortable Crisis

I was going around saying this line from VILLETTE out loud last night, "This was an uncomfortable crisis," trying to figure out how I would read it if they asked me to do the audio book, because when they do an audio book of VILLETTE I will probably be the first person they ask. I was saying stuff like "THIS was an uncomfortable crisis" and "This WAS an uncomfortable crisis" and many other variations. The trick is to keep that cool head so essential to a Charlotte Brontë narrator (young Lucy Snowe is dropped off alone in the dead of night among pushy thugs at the wharf - in fact she compares herself to "a dripping roast" [!] and says "This was an uncomfortable crisis"), the cool head being so admirable and pleasantly astringent and yet also what keeps JANE EYRE, for example, from being as insane as I like, as insane as WUTHERING HEIGHTS, you know. I will say that VILLETTE starts off with an uncanny doll-like kid who displays the self-possession of an adult and you almost suspect you've picked up a horror novel. I am reading VILLETTE for myself and feel bad because I'm going to have to put it aside and start rereading ON THE ROAD for my class that starts soon. Nothing against Mr. Kerouac! In fact, I just read BIG SUR and VANITY OF DULUOZ "for myself," though they ended up coming in handy as prep. VANITY is a prequel to ON THE ROAD and BIG SUR shows the downside to ON THE ROAD's success, focusing a great deal on Kerouac's oozing hatred of beatniks, especially the ones who scared his poor old mother so much that she piled furniture in front of the door so they couldn't get in. Though his obsessions are Dracula and The Shadow, Kerouac is more like Dr. Frankenstein, come to think of it!