Sunday, May 3, 2009

Full speed, forever. And sunshiny days.

I enjoyed "Naive. Super", and enjoyed reading the family's posts about it even more. It seems there was more going on in the novel than I gave it credit for.

The Catcher in the Rye feel of the novel was one of the first things I noticed about the book, but as time went on, I regarded Loe's unnamed narrator as being less and less like Holden than I had thought. I liked Erlend (I'll call him Erlend because the e-mails to the physicists were from "Erlend Loe" and since it was first person, I guess the author's name is my best guess) much more than Holden simply because he was less depressing. Holden seemed extremely depressed and almost unbearably angsty. Erlend is angsty too, but more charmingly so. Maybe because his concerns are more out-there. They're about time, not morals and loss of innocence. At least to me, that made me appreciate his concerns a lot more.

I loved the lists. I thought it was interesting that Dad felt there was "little return for careful perusing of the stuff on his lists", because I found them kind of fresh and interesting. Maybe I spend too much time reading my friend's endless lists of "If you were an animal, what you be and why? Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe in love? What song will you play at your wedding"-type notes on Facebook, but I found myself writing my own lists in my head. I thought many of them were pretty funny, especially how completely disjointed they were. That list of stuff he has and doesn't have in the beginning was especially funny. Writing a list as random as those is a careful art that the narrator became very good at. 

I enjoyed how proud the narrator was of himself when he wrote some of those lists, and how he complimented Kim's list of stuff that excited him when he was a kid. I enjoyed how proud of himself he was when he accomplished many small feats, in fact, like seeing more animals than Borre (if his father wasn't included), and realizing that tigers didn't live in Africa, and his simple pleasures of catching the ball every time it bounced off the wall, and of hammering his peg.

And finally, I too found the book hilariously witty (or sometimes just thoughtful). I have written a list of some of my favorite quotes:
- "I put the vacuum jar on the windowsill. It can stand there and let the lucky photons that hit it get a surprise. I feel good. Similar to the feeling I get when I feed the little birds, or give money to someone who has less than I do."
- "11. Do you disapprove of television commercials that feature animated food, for instance biscuits that dance and jump into the cheese?"
- "And if there is any mail, I open it and fax it to my brother. It is an amazingly long fax number. I feel increasingly sure he is in Africa."
- "Seeing as I'm not a dog owner in New York, that also means everybody else could be something other than what they seem to be. That means it is impossible to know anything at all."
- "He came close to buying a Japanese car once, but abandoned the idea. The car didn't really have anything going for it. Volvo, however. Now there's a car. Safety. It's like a good friend. No nonsense, ever. And he puts down his coffee cup to make a hand gesture that seems to mean: full speed forever. And sunshiny days."

Oh, and just for fun, here's that Alanis video he watched on MTV:

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