December 30, 2003


Library bound. I have been inside a library for nine hours today. How slowly the hours pass. Reading. Working. Tick. Tick.

Well, speaking of time (the worst, most cliched, transitional phrase ever), I just finished The Hours by Michael Cunningham.


I have never been a fan of current or modern male literature, but after reading this novel I cannot help but wonder at the inapplicability of gender in writing...or maybe this is just an exception.

Michael Cunningham, for instance, describes a beloved member of his own gender:

"He has removed his tie, unbuttoned his shirt; he exudes a complex essense made up of sweat, Old Spice, the leather of his shoes, and the ineffable, profoundly familiar smell of his flesh--a smell with elements of iron, elements of bleach, and the remotest hint of cooking, as if deep inside him something moist and fatty were being fried."

A man wrote this? Incredible. He has become a woman. The very average-looking man on the book's jacket appears to have wiggled on a girdle in this scene. Good for him.

I loved the entire story, not just the transvestite writing. The pace. The character development. Beautiful.

The story, as may already know, has been made into a movie. I have not rented it yet, but I am happy to have read it first. Barbara Miller, a teacher at Seton Hill in the Writing Popular Fiction program (we work together @ library), said that the movie gives it all away...the twist I mean.

And what a twist it was...JUST IMAGINE: A meek librarian turning one of the last pages of her novel and then screaming, "OH MY GOSH! IT WAS HIM!! I KNEW IT WAS HIM!" Just a note**That was not a spoiler, just a calm, collected observation :-D

Because I have to act the part. Meek librarian. Meek librarian. Maybe if I keep saying that to myself it will come true. Heck it works with other things. But I don't think I ever will be that quiet.

All the characters in The Hours were too quiet, too sedate. Thankfully I will never have that problem :-)

Posted by Amanda Cochran at December 30, 2003 4:46 PM

"as if deep inside him something moist and fatty were being fried"? That sounds a little over the top. I'm not familiar with the book or the author, so perhaps it's intentional.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at December 30, 2003 11:11 PM

Maybe you should have been in the course I took last semester. We studied short stories written by women, and I'm interested in the shadows gender casts in an author's work as well.

Fascinating. We'll have to discuss that sometime. :)

Happy new year, dear. :-D

Posted by: Karissa at December 31, 2003 11:01 AM

I love the effect of that passage, Dr. Jerz; it was intentional. I picked out the "oppressed wife" character, Laura, for my entry because, though her distasteful reactions to her husband's scent bring out her character, they also demonstrate how deep a writer can immerse HIMSELF in a womanly figure.

Happy New Year, Karissa. Let me just clean my glasses...WHERE DID THAT MUSIC COME FROM???? heehehhehehehehe Sorry everyone--just an inside joke.

Posted by: Amanda at December 31, 2003 1:14 PM

oh yes, the dramatic music gets me every time.

Posted by: Karissa at December 31, 2003 1:41 PM

Karissa, I have to agree, CWW would have been even better if Amanda had been in it!

Posted by: Diana at January 1, 2004 1:51 PM

...One of the few instances where the movie was better than the book, and I read the book first. The book brought out the worst in me; I was practically gleeful when something fell out the window. Not the author's intention, I hope...

Posted by: Julie at January 1, 2004 11:34 PM
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