Saturday, June 28, 2014

Want Not

Book Review

I love being challlenged. I love it even more when the only consequence is getting to a dictionary, either the electronic or paper variety. 

This author gave me several challenges in the form of words I don't know. I'm pretty good at figuring out meanings from context, but it is still fun to go look them up.  

How many times have I told my kids to "go look it up"? Lots. Lots and lots. Way more than just lots and lots.

And that doesn't include how many times I have told them to "google it."

Actually, googling works on words too. 

Try it out:


Do you know them? Did you google them? 

Who needs context when we have Google?!

Well... you. You do. I do. We all do. We all need to be able to read meaning from context because we don't want to be running off to a dictionary or Google for every other word.

I am usually able to make a good guess at the intent and keep reading. And if I remember later, I look it up later. And I am generally right. Or I'm on the right track.

All these fancy, schmancy words in a novel about trash. Go figure.

Want Not

This is a rather interesting take on our modern world. Our modern trash, to be more specific. Each of us produces our share of refuse. 

Some of us more than others of us.  Some bits of it are more significant that other bits of it.

Trash. Rubbish. Garbage. Everything we want to get rid of.

Soiled wares. Expired food. Unretained statements. Discarded humans.

How we deal with our refuse says a lot about who we are. About what we value. And what we don't value. 

Here we are thrown into several stories of individuals and how they relate to their refuse. But in an indirect way. We learn a bit about who they are through their actions and interactions with the world around them.

Through their actions and interactions because of, or in spite of, their trash.

And you can't see how these separate stories are related or why they are all part of the same novel. But hang in there. 

Just keep reading. Just keep reading. 

It all comes together, eventually.

This is a great, interesting and irreverent novel. The writing is superb. The plot is hidden until the end, but I will admit I was guessing (correctly) before I got there. That's okay. I appreciate that it wasn't all spelled out for me ahead of time.

This is a most impolite novel. It is irreverent in terms of thoughts people have about other people and their feelings. Maybe this is the way people really think, but most of us have been taught, or have learned, to not speak of such things. It is a bit shocking to see such thoughts spelled out so bluntly in plain black and white.

No, not shocking. Shocking is too strong. Blunt. Blunt is not too strong.

Sure, I know plenty of people who are blunt, but most of them are still polite enough to avoid conversations that touch on such topics as those filleted out for us here. Mature audiences only, please.

And just to add a bit of refinement, this happens to be only the second time I have come across the allusion of "tilting against the windmills."

An allusion is a literary device used to to briefly and indirectly refer to a concept of some significance. The reader is expected to understand the reference without explanation.

I confess that I had never heard of this particular literary reference before earlier this year. I came across it used by a colleague in a work email.  I had to look it up, because I still haven't gotten around to reading the origin of the reference, Don Quixote.

I'll spare you the googling of it: "tilting at windmills" refers to battling imaginary enemies. If you have read Don Quixote, you know more than I do.

So here we have garbage and fine literature and trash talking and superb writing, all in one novel. Outstanding!

A novel about trash, but absolutely not a trashy novel! And absolutely worth your time!

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome your thoughtful comments.