The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje

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There is a real poetic sense or feel to the writing. The early vignettes are beautiful sketches that take the reader back in time and allows them to picture this odd collection of tablemates bringing all their histories and personalities to the trip. But at some point this poetic impressionistic story becomes a mystery and then an attempt to unpack the impact of this mystery years later. And for me the changing styles just didn’t work together all that well.

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Jonah Goldberg on writing a book

The problem, you see, is that people who don’t write books don’t know what an unending, unyielding ass-ache they are. I’d compare them to a non-stop flight in a middle seat between John Goodman’s sweaty former body double who’s now jobless because he “let himself go” and a runny-nosed, cotton-candy-loving small child who is hard to distinguish from a deadly pathogen vector.

But I can’t make that comparison — because writing a book is worse than that. You see there’s nothing “non-stop” about writing a book save the constant yearning to either reach the destination or the unending sound of the siren on your shoulder counseling you to give up and beach the ship. Even though you’re often surrounded by people, you’re always alone in that community-of-one called “the author of your unfinished book.”

It’s more like a years-long journey with constant layovers, cancelled planes, and rerouting through Newark. Every time you push away from the keyboard, it’s like deplaning just long enough to see if Wolfgang Puck Express has finally decided to more accurately rename itself “Bowel Stewery on the Go.”

I know what you’re thinking right now: “Stewery isn’t a word.” To which I ask, “That’s your objection to this rant?”

Jonah Goldberg in today’s G-file