Second Post – August 21, 2016
Whilst continuing to believe absolutely that I am not completely wrong in my opinion of Chiliad, after a year of nothing, no comment, no question, no email, I though seriously, – as again now, after 3 years, – that aggressive was a way to go, saying that, “nine point nine tenths of you are not up to reading this…”, or, “Listen, this site is far more for your benefit than my own,” or, “if you don’t possess strength, stamina, experience, intelligence, most particularly the attention-span to make it to the end of a long sentence, and if you have not read Barthelme, Beckett, Bernhard, Borges, Calvino, Faulkner, Gardner, Gass, Grass, Hawkes, Moya, O’Brien, Claude Simon…, you are wasting our time.”…
Chiliad is not a quick and easy read, not a silly tale of vampires, zombies, aliens, etc, not a bestseller, and not faultless, but what Chiliad is, is a big, difficult book, a work of writerly craftsmanship requiring experience in reading, maturity, patience, persistence, and perseverence.
Certainly Chiliad is outright a strange book; but it is also mysterious, unusual, intricate, incident-filled, attention-demanding, shocking, clever, amusing, intriguing, startling, laugh-out-loud funny, tragic, etc; and if its language, – as well as unique, challenging, and possibly also startling, – seems strange, this will only be at first, for persistence and faith are the main keys to ‘getting’ Chiliad; also reading it slowly aloud helps enormously.
In overcoming its seeming difficulty, – which is immediately and very obviously apparent, – by simply persevering, – for Chiliad is also a challenge, a dare, a test, – you will soon see some light. If you don’t like it, and testily flee, then ok, good: wrong product, wrong customer, but some will/should take up the challenge, and one or two of you will feel that real satisfaction never supplied by paperback shite of the hour.
The discerning few who persevere, – by the second chapter finding the old-fashioned style, the many rare words, the intricacy of the grammar and syntax, the long sentences, etc, no longer great hurdles, – will be occasionally startled, I believe, as much by the rich exuberance of the language, as by the intricacy of the plot.
In simple terms, first off: there has never been a story like this, okay?, and, second: things have never been told or described in this way, not in this, soon very comprehensible, style; which in terms simpler still: stuff has never before been said like this, okay?, this is new, this is different. But when you do start to get it, to understand, you certainly can’t just zip through it, you have to take your time, as if it was obliging you to savor how very particularly the words are strung together, how the 2-300 word sentences intricately wind in new ways, amble and skip in almost endless variety, and how about those footnoes, all those new words, a few of them thought-provoking, a few of them even useful?, this is: “…language… displaying itself, showing off, peacockery, a mating dance, necessarily, so as not to die…” [Chiliad, notes, p 194d].