Henry Miller

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Who loves ya, baby?
I quite enjoyed Tropic of Cancer years ago but I'm not sure it would necessarily reward a second reading.
I read Capricorn maybe a couple of years ago and swung back and forth between being bored to tears/repulsed and thinking he was brilliant. I loved the rants and hated the sexual escapades. You'd get some great passage of him raging against society or whatever then have to trudge through pages of him harassing women and droning on and on about "cunt".
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I read Capricorn maybe a couple of years ago and swung back and forth between being bored to tears/repulsed and thinking he was brilliant. I loved the rants and hated the sexual escapades. You'd get some great passage of him raging against society or whatever then have to trudge through pages of him harassing women and droning on and on about "cunt".
Yeah, I'm far from the wokest person ever to read a novel but I remember the misogyny being glaringly offensive and - worse, from the POV of readability - very repetitive and dull.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I've read of them but I'm mixed up on which one.... I thought it was cancer but your description of capricorn sounds just like it.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Probably helps if you have the looks to be a catwalk model.
Well, he's obviously a good looking guy and he's six feet two or three I suppose but I think it was more that Agnes knew he was broke and basically did him a favour and said if you want 1500 euros just walk down the runway for me. I think that's right. I don't think he is so beautiful he would be doing that otherwise.
 

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Who loves ya, baby?
I've read of them but I'm mixed up on which one.... I thought it was cancer but your description of capricorn sounds just like it.
Cancer's his time in Paris, Capricorn's his time in America prior to leaving for Paris and ends as he leaves. I've only read Capricorn.
 

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Who loves ya, baby?
I think his view of sex and women was twisted early on as he essentially admits to being abused in Capricorn. His "first love" was apparently a piano teacher close to 30 whom he had a sexual relationship with when he was fifteen.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I think his view of sex and women was twisted early on as he essentially admits to being abused in Capricorn. His "first love" was apparently a piano teacher close to 30 whom he had a sexual relationship with when he was fifteen.
Yeah, I looked him up on Wikipedia earlier and saw this bit, too. Sort of thing that's easy to think of as a neutral "formative experience", or even to think "sounds great", but then if you reverse the genders in your head and ask yourself if it's still OK, you're like, eh...
 

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Who loves ya, baby?
Miller, like Lynch and Beckett, was one of those who look cooler as an old man than they ever did in their youth.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I think there is a real genre - I dunno if it has a name - in which I would include (off the top of my head); Tropic of Cancer, Ask the Dust, pretty much all Bukowski, maybe On The Road, perhaps Junky and Queer by Burroughs, Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson er Dirty Havana maybe and so on. Basically guy (pretty much always a bloke) kinda slobs around with a succession of useless mates getting drunk/high whatever, has some good times where his horse comes in at 66 to 1 and spends a week or two drinking champagne and boinking expensive prostitutes, has bad weeks when there is a drug drought or his girlfriend ODs etc and so on. I suppose they are interesting, especially when they're at least semi-autobiographical - they tell you about a time and a place and give you a vicarious insight into how people you don't tend to interact with live and so on.... most of them (Bukowski especially) are not that well written though. I have read quite a lot of these things I suppose now I come to think of it so I can't be too down on the genre - I don't think though I'd really stick up for most of those books if someone made some of the many totally valid criticisms that they could.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
On The Road is in the minority of novels I've started and not finished - got about 50 pages in and decided it was just really boring. I can appreciate that it was fresh and relevant in the 50s, of course, but maybe it's because that whole "young/ish white bloke bums around in grotty-but-cool neighbourhoods, does odd jobs/hustles/steals, is drunk/high most of the time, has meaningless sexual encounters/tempestuous relationship with a woman as dysfunctional as he is, writes about it" genre is now so well-worn - although of books like that that I've read I can only really think of Miller and Bukowski. I quite liked the Bukowski I read - probably Factotum and maybe one other - but not enough to seek out any others. I know several people who think he's amazing - pretty certain not one of those friends is female, it has to be said.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I have to wonder where - realistically - a novel like this would be set today, given the pace of gentrification in so many places over the last couple of decades? Surely not London, where probably the only areas where someone with this kind of lifestyle could afford to live would be not only grotty but also far from the centre and without even the shabby glamour that this literature relies on; I'm thinking Enfield, Croydon, that sort of thing. And it sounds like Rich's mate was living in one of the last few bits of inner Paris where living like that was still possible. There's still Berlin, as people have mentioned, but for how much longer I don't know.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Perhaps it'd have to be a city in eastern Europe, or the Middle East, or Latin America.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
There's this I guess set in London... written by a woman contra what I said above. I didn't especially enjoy it but I think it fits the description


(Disclaimer; Morbid Books is run by a friend)
 

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Who loves ya, baby?
On The Road is in the minority of novels I've started and not finished - got about 50 pages in and decided it was just really boring. I can appreciate that it was fresh and relevant in the 50s, of course, but maybe it's because that whole "young/ish white bloke bums around in grotty-but-cool neighbourhoods, does odd jobs/hustles/steals, is drunk/high most of the time, has meaningless sexual encounters/tempestuous relationship with a woman as dysfunctional as he is, writes about it" genre is now so well-worn - although of books like that that I've read I can only really think of Miller and Bukowski. I quite liked the Bukowski I read - probably Factotum and maybe one other - but not enough to seek out any others. I know several people who think he's amazing - pretty certain not one of those friends is female, it has to be said.
On the Road's one of the most boring books I've ever read. Absolute slog. I may give it another go at some point, but Jesus, it was boring.

re: Bukowski -- I read Ham on Rye years ago and enjoyed it, but that's all I've read. Interestingly, the only person I know who really loves him is a woman. She loves Fante and Bret Easton Ellis too. And she's currently reading Martin Amis.
 

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Who loves ya, baby?
I have to wonder where - realistically - a novel like this would be set today, given the pace of gentrification in so many places over the last couple of decades? Surely not London, where probably the only areas where someone with this kind of lifestyle could afford to live would be not only grotty but also far from the centre and without even the shabby glamour that this literature relies on; I'm thinking Enfield, Croydon, that sort of thing. And it sounds like Rich's mate was living in one of the last few bits of inner Paris where living like that was still possible. There's still Berlin, as people have mentioned, but for how much longer I don't know.
It wouldn't have to be set in present day, also it could just be fiction so you could make up anything about anywhere.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
It wouldn't have to be set in present day, also it could just be fiction so you could make up anything about anywhere.
True of course, but the appeal of these sorts of novels comes precisely from the knowledge that they're at least semi-autobiographical, doesn't it?
 
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