Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Kindly Ones

So I woke up a lil to early.

Yeah I did. Oh well.

SO! I've been reading a book called The Kindly Ones. I had this idea of giving my impressions all throughout reading it but I am 200 pages in so I am not so sure that still applies. Of course the book is over 900 pages long so I mean I am not even half way through yet. Crazy right?

The weird thing about the book is that it is highly literary, by that I mean it is written to deliberatly cater to smrt people who have long atension spans who are interested in EVERYTHING. You gotta be. Right now I am in the middle of this suprisingly complex linguistic analysis of this tiny little region in russia that somehow managed to develop around 30 languages in it. The book calls it the mountain of languages and the linguist has been going through and discussing the origins of each language, diffrent phonetic sounds which seperates it from the other languages, possible origins of the language, and all sorts of other things. He then goes into some basic linguistic theory like how this Dr. can become functional in anylanguage in about 10-15 days, and can preform complex linguistic analysis that a child would never be able to do despite a much larger vocabulary. Maybe it is because I think linguistics are really really neat. Or maybe it is because I am a dork in general and I am reading about a dork, but I find myself lovingly attached to the main charecter.

In the previouse section he spent, oh god, at least 15 pages seducing another guy. He used Plato's symposium to do it. I wanna seduce someone with Plato.

Oh yeah so the book is from the point of view during WW2, a lot of this stuff is intermixed with scenes of genocide and horror that are, man they are just aweful.

Our main charecter has spent the first 180 pages setting up the story and running around the russian front. This is before they had the gas powered concentration camps over there so thier method of execution involved firieng squads. He talks a lot about how horrible the action was and how hard it was on everyone to spend day after day shotting inncocent people. At one point our main charecter became on the verge of nervose collapse and had to be sent to a rest home.

Enough on that though. Basic plot elements aren't very interesting to write.

What is interesting is that the book uses LONG paragraphs. They usually average 2-3 pages and the thing that interests me about this is how much ground they end up covering. Ack I goota go to work so time to be brief. Essentially, a paragraph will cover the main charecter waking up from a nightmare, doing ordinary office work, dealing with incompetent officials, watching or participating in acts of genocide, then going back to ordinary life. When the paragraph is considered as a grammatical unit that represents one idea, the texture of these long paragraphs becomes increadbly interesting. The book also has been cycling through the charecter's nightmares, the related traumas, then he would go to commit genocide, then back to ordinary life. It is almost as if he escapes his traumas through the genocide or highly acedemic endevours.

THere is also the language where everything from speaches, to writting reports, to off topic musings, to homosexual hookups, to genocide, to nightmares are all presented in this very clipped matter of fact tone, which is awesome. So yeah 200 pages in and I am still increadbly interested in the book. I needed to review some WW2 history to figgure out what the hell was going on, but once I did that things went a little easyer. The author also uses all sorts german military titles so learning the diffrence between them, and the diffrent jobs they do took forever. It prolly would of helped had I noticed the glossary in the back of the book earlyer though, stupid glossary.

SO yeah neat!

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