Print Story Human Remains
By TheophileEscargot (Tue May 23, 2006 at 09:29:08 AM EST) Reading, Museums, Steam, Me (all tags)
Reading: "Never Let Me Go". Museums. Steam. Me.

What I'm Reading
Finished the superb Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro Seems like a bit of a return to the style of "Remains of the Day" and "An Artist of the Floating World": shorter, and relatively straightforward compared to his more tortuously contorted recent books.

Book works on a couple of levels, one as an cooly horrific story; one as a meditation on lost opportunities and mortality. As usual though, Ishiguro carefully avoids details and specifics, so considered as an exercise in SF world-building it would be an abject failure. In this case that didn't irritate me though, as the ambiguities are essential.

(Don't read these spoilers if you have any intention of reading the book).

The great unresolved question for me is to why the Donors don't resist their fate, despite being apparently given a high degree of freedom. Have they just been so carefully brainwashed that it`s unthinkable? Is the alternate society so strictly regimented that escape is impossible? Have they been genetically engineered to be compliant? Or is it just that most people don`t question their culture's assumptions? Plenty of other cultures have had apparently willing human sacrifices. It would be easy enough to find an explanation, but I think it works better to leave unresolved.

I absolutely loved the ending. Seemed to me one of the best dramatic inversions ever: you're introduced to the characters who you think are going to be unveiled as monsters, but turn out to be well-meaning, partly successful fighters against even worse monstrosity that's revealed to be triumphant.

I'd class this as among his best books, and one of the best novels I've read in age. While short and with an easy prose style though, it is slow-paced and character-driven. Highly recommended.

Review, review.

Went to the Hayward to see the Undercover Surrealism exhibition ("Picasso, Miro, Masson and the vision of Georges Bataille"). High-concept. diverse selection themed around 1930s avant-garde magazine "Documents". Mixes up some of the ethnic folk art that inspired them with a sprinkling of first-rate art, like Picasso's "Two women running on the beach", a couple of Dali's. plus a lot of photographs and some sculptures.

Quite entertaining, though might irritate purists and there's a fair amount of padding to fill out the Hayward's generous space. At £7.50 might be a bit expensive for some. Gallery quiet, cool and uncrowded on a rainy weekend day, no kids.

Review, review, on Documents.

Pablo Picasso: Two women running on the beach

Have had brown basmati rice a few times. Quite tasty and I like the texture, but it's even more of a pain to cook. You have to soak it for several hours to get all the starch out, it takes 45 minutes to steam instead of 25-30, and apparently it goes off a lot more quickly. Back to white Basmati after this I think.

Probably visiting Paris for the first time soon. Any tips?

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Human Remains | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
not that you don't know this, by garlic (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue May 23, 2006 at 09:51:50 AM EST
but the crowds around the most famous art in the louvre aren't worth fighting through. stick with the not quite as famous stuff.

Are they a lot worse than London? [nt] by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue May 23, 2006 at 10:24:24 AM EST

It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
The Mona Lisa is by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #14 Tue May 23, 2006 at 09:37:14 PM EST
... or at least it was in it's old spot. Was it you who posted this link about it moving?

The last time I saw the wretched thing it was after queuing and then being crushed in a dead end where flashes lit the painting so harshly that I came away with the distinct idea that Leonardo portrayed Lisa during a thunderstorm.

That was how I saw it.

The Nike of Samothrace was in a more open area that you'll probably pass anyway if you're looking at the fine art.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
Post you lessons learned when you get back. by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue May 23, 2006 at 10:12:09 AM EST
Paris has jumped the queue for our European travels, since the step-daughter wants to go there after London.

Hang on... by Dr Thrustgood (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue May 23, 2006 at 12:03:28 PM EST
So your daughter wants a romatic break awa... what?

[ Parent ]
Dude! What is this ro - man - tic of which by greyrat (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue May 23, 2006 at 12:14:44 PM EST
you speak? She's a party girl. No romance. She dates a boy for awhile, crushes his soul, eats his heart and moves on -- just like any mid-to-late teen female. She wants to go to Paris for touristy purposes. Just like she wants to go to London for Beatlestalking. I did however point out to here that when she and her mom walk into a pub, they'll probably not have to pay for anything.

Since she's the good child right now, ms rat and I might deign to take her to gay Paris...

[ Parent ]
Alas! by Dr Thrustgood (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue May 23, 2006 at 12:25:35 PM EST
I fear a misunderstanding! I talkin' gettin' down in the eye-tal-ian sense. Groove.

[ Parent ]
Werd bro'. Ya' be barkin' up d' wrong tree yo! by greyrat (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue May 23, 2006 at 12:34:37 PM EST
A'nt gettn' nuthin' but da tab, if'n ya see 'em 'tall. See, Doktor T, he be da loser no maata' what! An' tain't gettin' no groove no how no way!

[ Parent ]
Optimist. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue May 23, 2006 at 01:01:15 PM EST
He will find his way.

Although I'd understood he only went for Americans if they were fat, ugly and needy.

[ Parent ]
Oi! by Dr Thrustgood (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue May 23, 2006 at 01:40:10 PM EST
Really, really, fantastic head.


[ Parent ]
I will sleep better for knowing that. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue May 23, 2006 at 02:00:20 PM EST
Thank you.

[ Parent ]
Brown basmati. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue May 23, 2006 at 11:32:06 AM EST
I just boil the bejaysus out of it for 40 minutes and it splits, but it still tastes good. I have a very low tolerance for fibre, but I do find that it leaves me feeling less hungry when I wake up in the morning than white rice, or brown long grain rice, my main need from a food.

Paris by TurboThy (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue May 23, 2006 at 02:44:09 PM EST
Musée Jaquemart-André is a nice place to spend a few couple hours.
Sommerhus til salg, første række til Kattegat.
[EDIT COMMENT KTHX] by TurboThy (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue May 23, 2006 at 02:46:22 PM EST
If the weather's nice, the jardin at the Musée Rodin is a very nice hangout. Museum's interesting too.
Sommerhus til salg, første række til Kattegat.
[ Parent ]
Paris by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #15 Wed May 24, 2006 at 12:20:08 AM EST
The Catacombs. There is a small area open to the public, which I haven't visited but have been told is pretty cool. If you're a bit more adventurous there's plenty of stuff online (including a frighteningly big map), but bear in mind someone got lost down there and died (just feet from an exit of course).

On the tourist side, I remember Montmartre being really cool when I visited as a kid, great views. Dunno what it's like now though.

It's political correctness gone mad!

Human Remains | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback