Friday 31 July 2009

Cloacal spewings in the face of Providence

It's the Friday before a long weekend, and it's sunny and warm, and half of Toronto has already disappeared into the wilds of cottage country. That is to say, it's a slow afternoon in bookstoreland and I'd like very much to take a nap now, having foolishly turned down a friend's offer to bring me a caffeinated beverage of extreme deliciousness (coffee).

I am so sleepy right now (courtesy in large part of some soft, 30-something grunge-mo kids singing and playing gee-tar outside our window around midnight) that I believe this post is going to consist of an introductory qualification, a mostly uncommented upon quotation from the book in question, followed by an outdreductory qualification and then my head on the desk + snores.

Here comes the "This is why I love Flann O'Brien" quotation promised above. Just so you won't be completely lost: The narrator, Finbarr, is speaking with his uncle Collopy about what the former's brother (described generally as "the brother") is doing so secretively and to such great financial effect. Collopy is highly suspicious of the box of books the brother has just had delivered. (Apparently, circa 1896, get rich quick schemes might include book-selling and publishing. I was clearly born at the wrong time.)
-...if those books are dirty books, lascivious peregrinations on the fringes of filthy indecency, cloacal spewings in the face of Providence, with pictures of prostitutes in their pelts, then out of this house they will go and their owner along with them. You can tell him that if you see him first. And I would get Father Fahrt to exorcise all fiendish contaminations in this kitchen and bless the whole establishment. Do you hear me?

- Yes, I hear.

- Where is he now?

- I don't know. He is a very busy man. Perhaps he is at confession.

- The what was that?

- He might be seeing the clergy on some abstruse theological point. (pp. 67-68)
Oh, Flann/Myles/Brian (pseudonym/pseudonym/realonym), I do adore you, even if The Third Policeman made my brain catch on fire. I adore the fact that every book you wrote is completely unique, i.e., you didn't write The World According to Garp or Joshua Then and Now over and over again like SOME people I could name. The Hard Life is distinguished from the other O'Brien books I've read by comprising a straightforward narrative with no melting walls or fun-makings of Anglo-Saxon epics. It was mostly dialogue like above and it was all incredibly pleasing.

Herein ends the outro, which means I am now almost asleep AND am I caught up on books recently completed but not yet beblogged.

Also, I know what the word "cloacal" means because of David Attenborough. Which is kind of creepy.


celine said...

There is nothing creepy about David Attenborough, except that he remains sexy no matter how ancient he gets.

Oh said...

knowing nothing about the books/writer you mention here, I set out on a book search adventure. Great to find tis "bookish" blog and think the template is awesome as well.

Bookphilia said...

Celine: true dat.

Oh: enjoy your adventure! and thanks for the compliment on the layout :) i'm rather fond of it myself.

Jess said...

You should never turn down the offer of caffeinated beverages of extreme deliciousness, especially when you're getting delivery!

celine said...

I guess most of us will never know how the translations stand up to the original. Certainly you can't tell when it's your own work (unless there are glaring and mindboggling annoyances, or you are fluent in both languages) so I guess you haven't a hope of telling when it's someone elses.

celine said...

DAMN! I posted that comment in completely the wrong place! Can you put it into the Istanbul comment box for me Colleen or shall I repost? (interweb crashed at first attempt and opened wrong post at second!)

Bookphilia said...

Celine: I have no idea how to move a comment. How's this? "Dear world, Celine intended these comments to go with the Istanbul post." Is that okay? Sorry for being slow when it comes to manipulating the interwebs.

Celine said...

LOL! The interwebs will kill us all - but thanks to you and Raych we'll probably die laughing. ( or at least snickering)