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Nineteen Eighty-Four

I'm just in the middle of re-reading this now. Now, I freely admit I'm a bit of a philistine. I'm never usually stirred by what people describe as "classic literature". I'd rather watch a good sitcom.

But fuck me, I don’t think a book has affected me like this in a long time, if ever. To the point where I’m pretty much thinking about it all day. When I read it when I was younger, I liked it, but didn’t fully appreciate it. But now… certain images and lines just don’t leave your head.(SPOILERS follow, so if you haven’t read it, I suggest you do so first.)

“There was a gasp and a thump behind him, and he received a violent kick on the ankle which nearly flung him off his balance. One of the men had smashed his fist into Julia’s solar plexus, doubling her up like a pocket ruler. She was thrashing about on the floor, fighting for breath. Winston dared not turn his head even by a millimetre, but sometimes her livid, gasping face came within the angle of his vision. Even in his terror it was as though he could feel the pain in his own body, the deadly pain which nevertheless was less urgent than the struggle to get back her breath. He knew what it was like; the terrible, agonizing pain which was there all the while but could not be suffered yet, because before all else it was necessary to be able to breathe. Then two of the men hoisted her up by knees and shoulders, and carried her out of the room like a sack. Winston had a glimpse of her face, upside down, yellow and contorted, with the eyes shut, and still with a smear of rouge on either cheek; and that was the last he saw of her.”

Sob, frankly.

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By John Hoare
October 01, 2005 @ 1:06 am

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Does your edition have Thomas Pynchon's foreword?

By Phil
October 03, 2005 @ 6:25 pm

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No, it doesn't. It's a copy with Animal Farm, Burmese Days, and The Clergyman's Daughter all included.

What does it say?

By John Hoare
October 09, 2005 @ 5:39 am

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It specifically takes note of the passage you quoted above, praising it for its effective writing, and compares it earlier to Julia's quote that "They can do whatever they want to you on the outside, but they can't do anything on the inside."

Effectively, Pynchon wants to pick her up and slap her.

Also interesting how a "simply" plotted novel can affect such a notoriously jumbled author as Pynchon so deeply. Plus, it's rare that he writes essays about anything at all, so it's a real treat to hear him discourse rather than tell a story.

By Phil
October 10, 2005 @ 2:43 pm

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