Sunday night Nov 17
Rain and very warm. Last night we saw the Julia Louis Drefus and James Gandolfini movie, Enough Said. Pleasant enough but afterwards lots of flaws turn up and really it is not important enough to even talk about. On Rotten the difference between critics--95% and audiences 82% tells the story and you can tell here who is closer to the truth of the matter. Sweet movie and all that.
Much more intrigued by Infatuations. Learned one new phrase---to be “on a hiding to nothing” --to be getting a victory of sorts but of not much importance especially given how much it has cost you---if I understand the phrase. From horseracing.
Anyway--enjoying Marías again after a session of doubt last night (when I was tired). Especially so because what he does is so very far from the sort of novel Phil writes which even though he never took a writing course still has the earmarks of the way fiction should be in the American late 20th C mode. Whereas Marías presents works that would not last one week in the creative writing classroom, nor in the magazine or newspaper cultural Inbox. The other thing is JM gives me the sense of wanting to do that---to write a book like this one even to copy it and “translate” it somehow, to pull out the frame of the story and embellish “my own” variations on it in my own language. That is an old fantasy and I have even started to try it a few times years ago. Could I make it even slightly work somehow? even as my first worst attempt to write fiction? Now Phil’s book didn’t make me think these things. His is about Cumberland and characters he made up and his voice is so familiar to me I know I can’t imitate it and I know I don’t want to, nor do I want to write a detective crime novel like that one at all. Marías’s book, however, excites me to think of trying some sort of imitation. Is that the response of readerly appreciation or something else, some things else? Imitation highest form of flattery; flattery the highest form of envy?