The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Artists in Action #478


Philip Roth sits at a lunch counter

8 comments :

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Phil, Phil, Phil. Another day, another complaint. What, you don’t like the pie?

Tom Sutpen said...

And when he's not griping about the cuisine, he's asking when they're gonna get some hot, earthy waitresses in this joint.

swac said...

I hear he likes the liver.

Tom Sutpen said...

Ha! The first known Portnoy's Complaint reference in at least a quarter-century. I doff my cap to you, sir.

swac said...

I haven't read the book in a quarter-century!

I hear the movie was dreadful...

Tom Sutpen said...

Worse than dreadful: unwatchable.

And I don't think it was just a result of Ernest Lehman's direction (his first and only venture as a film director). Roth's novel's are rarely screen-friendly . . . in fact, the only novel of his that could make a genuinely great film, 1967's When She Was Good, has yet to be tackled . . . and adapting Portnoy's Complaint is about as impossible a task as any screenwriter has had, but Lehman's adaptation in spite of this was just plain wrongheaded, and I just don't see how another, more skilled director would have fared much better had they been saddled with it.

Kreisler said...

It's a close call but I think the film of The Human Stain is probably the worst Roth adaptation. Stupendously bad acting from Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman.

swac said...

I saw that, it was awful.