Monday, November 3, 2014

I Love Dollars

Aside from syllabus readings, I've had only a little bit of time to read on or off line. But one selection was the title story of Wen Zhu's I Love Dollars, which takes us inside contemporary money-mad, sex-crazed China where at least some young people are now interested in becoming writers and musicians.

I also stumbled upon, and then read, Michael Kazin's considerations of his father Alfred Kazin's life and writing, and I continue to support Cooke's fairly recent biography of Kazin, particularly for anyone with some time on their hands.

Last, I came across an article on Louis-Ferdinand Celine's antisemitism. I'd been under the impression that Celine was of that most curious caste of antisemites, that is, one born Jewish, but in fact, it seems I'm mistaken. I'm not sure of why I'd been under that impression or if I ever had a source. Now I find myself reading and skimming his interview from The Paris Review. Here's an excerpt:

My mother always used to tell me, “Poor kid, if you didn't have the rich people (because I already had a few little ideas, as it happened), if there weren't any rich people we wouldn't have anything to eat. Rich people have responsibilities.” My mother worshiped rich people, you see.

Here's one more, Celine on the novel as fighting a losing battle against TV, film, and alcohol:

But novels are a little like lace . . . an art that disappeared with the convents. Novels can't fight cars, movies, television, booze. A guy who's eaten well, who's escaped the big war, in the evenings gives a peck to the old lady and his day's finished. Done with.

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