I can’t stop reading Elena Ferrante!!!
It drives me nuts when other people are right but what can a person do. It is a bleak bleak world, the Neapolitan Quartet, and it is making me think a lot about trust and exhaustion and refusing to take care of people and how useful that can be sometimes and how bad I am at it. I read the first three books in two weeks and now I’m partly into the fourth and I have all sorts of things I am supposed to be doing today and tomorrow and this weekend and next week but ALL I WANT TO DO IS FINISH ELENA FERRANTE, what can a person do about that either.
I went to see the Martian a couple of weeks ago and I liked it fine for a movie in which the white dude lives, who doesn’t love space, idiots is who, but what was missing from that movie for me was a sense of wonder, of joy, of holy shit guys we’re on Mars, look at the crazy nonsense human beings get up to for absolutely no reason: art, poetry, flying around in spaceships, discovering the secrets of the universe. For a movie in which things are constantly happening there is next to no interiority, so little joy or emotional truth, and so ultimately it’s boring. And obviously it’s not very fair to compare the Martian to Elena Ferrante but for books in which basically nothing happens and which had ought to be quite boring there is so much emotional truth that they are relentlessly fascinating, and in another book the Postmodern Conceit of a pseudonymous writer creating a writer-character who shares the same name would be totally insufferable but Ferrante is so good at it—funny, also, how when a Fellow gets up to something similarly meta he is most likely to be hailed by critics as wildly clever whereas when a lady does it people are just like “yes but are they AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL,” which is the least interesting question it is possible to ask about a work of literature, which is probably why people ask it of women all the time, but anyway that’s neither here nor there.
I almost got into a fight last night with someone complaining about how his son has to read Jane Austen in school and I mean to be honest I am not the world’s biggest Austen fan either but if you are going to say a thing like “he should be reading books about real themes instead” in reference to Jane Austen you should be prepared for me to hit you in the face, but then I was like you know what, whatever, another whiskey please bartender and why don’t I get out my Elena Ferrante book now, alas! it's not about real themes like for example what men think about things. I am going to be talking about publishing Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (EVE <3) (I KNOW!!!!) at this conference tomorrow if you are in New York and if you aren’t the whole conference will be livestreamed, look at us all inhabiting the future together. I went to see the Space Shuttle Discovery and I ate some astronaut ice cream and it's not as good as I remember it being from third grade. I’m working on a new book, it’s not about space, it’s slow going, I keep wanting to throw everything out and start over but at some point you have to just, like, barrel forward and then fix it later. It’s still fall! Aren’t you happy!!!! I read Alexander Chee’s book The Queen of the Night and you are going to LOVE IT when it comes out I promise, and I read Rebecca finally and oh my god is that book great or what, just so gorgeously bonkers. After Elena Ferrante I am going to read some more Helen Oyeyemi and a bunch of books that I bought when I forgot that I’m not allowed to buy books anymore, I’ll tell you all about them. Happy October, dear creatures, see you soon. xoxoxo sarah