2011: 21. Under the Net

“When I saw Finn waiting for me on the corner of the street I knew at once that something had gone wrong.”

Under the Net, Iris Murdoch

             One of the funny things about blogging is when I have a thought about a particular book, and I go look up my previous entries about that author, and I find that I had already expressed basically the same thought before. That happened here - when I looked up my entry for The Sea, The Sea, I see that I thought that it was funny that I compared that book to Roth and Updike, because this book too seems, for lack of a better word, like a book a man would write - or specifically, the kind of book that those literary authors of the 1960’s and 70’s wrote.  And because I don’t generally love those kinds of books, I’m didn’t love this one.*

             It’s the story of a writer/bum named Jake, who drifts through life living off various women, and who, after a eventful period of mishaps finds some meaning in his life.  Nothing really happens - a dog is kidnapped, he goes to Paris, he reconnects with a former friend/philosophical mentor.  It’s part novel of ideas, part farce, and I just didn’t like it.  Mostly because I did not like Jake, and because I am tired of heros who do nothing and are nothing and I’m supposed to care about them.  Being irresponsible and thinking of women only as sex objects isn’t cute, or interesting.  Enough of books like that.

*And not to be to feminist about the whole male author woman author thing, which isn’t even necessarily a thing, per se, but rather the notion that “literary”/”important” fiction reads only one way - this way, I do think that its sort of bullshit that there are so few female authors on the this, and christ, this one might as well be a man.  I mean, not that women can’t write books about self absorbed asshole male protagonists, and act as if the possession of a penis and where it gets stuck isn’t the most important thing on Earth - feel free, ladies, but lord, I’m tired of reading that sort of book.  Though, to be scrupulously fair, I did really like Murdoch’s The Unofficial Rose, which didn’t read like these other two books - and AHA, didn’t win a major literary prize/get on the Modern Library Top 100 list. Oh my lord, it’s the genesis of my thesis - “The Acknowledged Female: Woman Authors and Patriarchal Approval”  (kidding) (mostly).

Categories:  Fiction, Modern Library Top 100

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017