Punch, Brother Punch - Mark Twain

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Punch, Brother Punch - Mark Twain

Post by weedguru_animal »


Its very rare for me to fail to finish a book. Especially when the lines I am lacking love for are etched by a Writer I have enjoyed in the past and feel I NEED to study...and learn from perhaps.

Punch started stodgy, the writing barren of any hint of Feeling. sporadic peaks of comic brilliance. I grew quickly tired of the steadily flowing shit stream of sardonic mocking. How many times can you keep saying 'these hicks are so dumb' in prettier, funnier words??? It took 5 weeks for me to reach near to page 150-ish, which was when I finally submitted to the growing temptation and allowed myself to dive into Knut Hamsun's Mysteries, which proceeded to take an evening, at the cost of 100 pages. All consuming. I was truly taken with Nagel and the world in which I found him...which is how a book needs to be for me to enjoy it, or value its existence...

I won't blame Twain, for as aforementioned, I have read more of him, and found him too top drawer, in places, to condemn him for this hatchet-job of a compilation, which if read by Twain himself would see him banging on the coffin to escape his tomb and jam his, by now well rounded off femurs, into the printing press....Perhaps 'hatchet job' is a step too far, for no doubt the compiler/editor who created this monstrosity wasn't aware of his misdeeds. Just one of Twain's fans, who was a synapse or five thousand too short of the numbers required for a semblance of Quality Character.

A book, once finished should be like an old friend, to/with whom you will always find fondness and an instant rekindling of Feeling whenever the book is recalled to mind and heart. Its an experience, not just another note on goodreads with a slightly different review to another book I gave 4 stars a week ago...I understand others don't read in a similar way or for similar reasons, but my own reviews are completely governed by the ideals and hopes and needs I have when it comes to the writing of others and myself. It needs to consume me, to leave me changed/affected in some way which makes it unforgettable. It needs to leave an imprint on a part of me that matters...

In the last few months I have been blessed with wicked books finding me. Firstly The Count of Monte Cristo, and then Mysteries. Both of these books have left their mark, and something still lingers from the wind they blew into my sails...

Perhaps Punch encouraged me to write a few lines in a more arrogant-playful manner than normal. Perhaps the book was disadvantaged through finding Mysteries on the bedside cabinet, shiny and bewitching even from a distance!. Most likely Twain has been cruelly undone, by an over zealous devotee unfortunately well connected to a publishing house.

In short, if you are going to try Twain for the first time, don't choose this book. For its too narrow, too polarised on pointless drivel, and the author produced far better work elsewhere. And maybe 'Work', as a choice of reference to his wares is worth expanding upon. For my conclusion is of the author's intellectual value as mighty, but little else. which is...OK. He was nowhere near the Dostoevsky/ Burroughs/ Thompson/ Bukowski / Hamsun/ Celine levels of magical talent. Mencken would shit in his hat, then hand it back to him, blowing cigar smoke in his face and offer advice on the stock exchange...

Nope. Thats it. Twain isn't for me. Intellect is useful, and often engaging, but I need more to value a creature. Its a bauble...flash in the pan of elan...but only valuable when attached to a heart burning with the right fire, a spirit fighting for the right cause.

If you like this book, then I advise you to seek out H. L Mencken. It will be a re-run of Frank Bruno v Tyson. Indeed, Frank was a good chap, good humoured, likeable, but Tyson was a beast. And on the battleground of their mutual choosing, the arena where they wished to be judged, the more vicious man left his opponent bloodied, bruised and desperate to head home. Where Twain danced gaily, Mencken stomped. And laughed. And conquered.

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