Thursday 5 March 2015

#amreading Joseph O’Neill’s THE DOG.

Okay, this isn’t my usual blog post stuffed with historical tidbits unless my years as an expat in non-democratic countries count as a historical tidbits, and Joseph O’ Neill’s book is about an expat in Dubai. It offers some excellent insights into the Kafkaesque experience of life in a country that will always be foreign to you.

O’Neill’s prose may sound a bit strange, or maybe not, given that his protagonist is a lawyer and must therefore be aware that
a word is exactly and covertly what it appears to be, a letters-shaped blackness, which is to say, a kind of verbatim detail of the immovable, possibly entropic, and in any case finally annihilating, residual super-reality of blackness.

O'Neill's character tries really heard to make himself understood, to kill or cage the rats of complexity, but in vain. He produces a cruelly rambling, almost agrammatical near-balderdash of baffling dependent clauses and ultra-boring, ultra-technical phraseology that enveloped the reader in a dingy, alien, almost unbreathable word-atmosphere offering barely a vent of punctuation indentation, or line breakage.
Sound like a description of the pre-nup you signed? Or the disclaimer on the insurance papers?

But don’t think that O’Neill’s lawyer is inhuman. No, he is all too human and realizes that he is in deep shit because he is seized with a knowledge of facts. That’s not good. A fact is where it all starts to go wrong. A fact is a knock on the door.

More bits from O’ Neill’s swamp of plausibility in my next post on Sunday. 

No comments:

Post a Comment