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Now here is a book one should not read in a day. It is, as far as I can tell, all the best of the eighteenth century, meaning that it is brilliant and charming and witty, light on its feet and filthy in its humor and long as only an eighteenth-century author with the bit in his teeth can manage. I had seen the movie (which is extremely good, and successfully films an intrinsically unfilmable novel) and read various excerpts, including the chapter which is primarily a series of curving lines, but had not read the thing itself. I have spent vast portions of the day and night reading the thing itself, and loving every minute of it, but I do think it was unfair of it to keep growing another hundred pages every time my back was turned. I also think that it is unfair of the edition to begin its pagination over every time it gets to the end of one of the original volumes, as it means that you keep thinking that you have two hundred pages left, when in fact you have seven, or eight, or quite possibly twenty hundred. For as Tristram Shandy declares that he wishes it to be, I think this is the original expanding novel, which will eventually put out its tendrils and devour life as we all know it. He states that even if he produces two volumes a year till he dies, his memoirs will never catch up with himself, and this is a fair metaphor for the work it gave me as a reader.

I could, in terms of how high its quality is and how much I love it, wish it twice as long: but not in one day, dammit.

Anyway, I digress, which is appropriate... )


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March 2017

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