The Trial

(by Franz Kafka) An offense to natural justice, this nightmare procedural (originally entitled ‘The Process’) has K finding all about how but nothing about why. Kafka’s famous novel interprets both the times and the inhumanity of the human condition.

Continue Reading →

The Aeneid

Virgil - A Roman Representation.

(by Virgil) Iliad begat Aenid begat Commedia…Virgil links two classic works 2,000 years apart with a masterpiece of his own, wherein Aeneas goes to Rome and wreaks Trojan revenge on the successors of Attic Greece, with everyone satisfyingly getting what’s coming to them.  Full of images and phrases resplendent either in English or in dodgy Latin. Thus Walter Pater (in Appreciations) “I am reading over again the Aeneid, certain verses of which I repeat to myself to satiety.  There are phrases there which stay in one’s head, by which I find myself beset, as with those musical airs which are…

Continue Reading →

Wise Blood

(by Flannery O’Connor) You can almost hear Father Ted saying, “Those Protestants; up to no good as usual.”. A slight but hysterical piece of southern Grand-Guignol in which O’Connor, in stark muscular prose, shows us why warmer climes tend to grow lusher fruit (viz., the evangelists in northern Queensland, the Spanish Inquisition, etc.).  O’Connor presents her freak show without explanation, comment or censure and you close the book as if you’ve just escaped the weird tent, gasping for air.

Continue Reading →

Laughter in the Dark

(by Vladimir Nabokov) Also known as Kamera obskura, “meant as an elaborate parody” but “one of my worst novels” is in fact a pitilessly cruel, slamming-door joke on a cuckold who is morally, aesthetically and physically blind.

Continue Reading →

A Likely Story

(by Donald E. Westlake) (1984) Very funny tale of hack writer (of “The Pink Garage Gang”, “Coral Sea”, “Golf Courses of America”, etc.) trying to get up a Christmas Book with contributions from various real celebrities that respond with a mixture of indifference, misunderstanding or hideous enthusiasm, while contending with a mother-obsessed editor (‘I’m fine…I’m peachy. Destroyed at f****** lunch with a writer.  Home a basket case.’)  

Continue Reading →

© Copyright 2014 The Varnished Culture All Rights Reserved. TVC Disclaimer. Site by KWD&D.