Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prose Stylist

A recent author is being heralded as the best American stylist living today. I wonder what the word means. Sometimes there are too many categories, distinctions and labels that one must be aware of in order to understand today’s vocabulary. Is this the result of the Aristotelian urge to organize knowledge into words? I guess it is meant to achieve preciseness and accuracy. Once one masters the vocabulary then one is considered erudite or articulate. Hence, its skill is the correct usage of the abstract. Soon it may result into a tower of Babel where the only solution is destruction in order to start all over again.

During the weekend I watched a French movie called ‘The Class’. I thought it would be a European version of those silly American movies about high school life. But it was a surprisingly new look at education. The students seem at times to be both smarter and stupid in the old world though perhaps more tolerant. Perhaps it’s just one of those silly stereotypes peddled by Hollywood wherein the local youth is more violent. The French movie was quite good though it lacked a proper ending. It won the best prize in Cannes File Festival. The main problem in the film is communication and the many words used or miss-used; that aid in erudition but fail in communication.

I am listening to Michael ChabonKavalier and Clay’. I just finished his book on Sherlock Homes ‘The Final Solution.’ This writer is widely praised and his works are very imaginative and creative. He reminds me of Isaac Beshevis Singer in some of his passages though I think I detect a lack of depth. He reminds me of Salman Rushdie in his inventiveness although without the flashy plots. He writes of strange genres which have a different twist. One detects his joy in writing similar to the feeling that one gets when reading Ernest Hemingway. Chabon has enormous talent but needs more years of life experience to write better and reach the maturity of Isaac Singer.

I like his book ‘Kavalier and Clay’ because it is about the comic book industry. This is required reading for fans of Marvel Comics and Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and the other legends. They seemed so advanced now that there are many movies now made from these comic books that started early in the last century. The movie versions are great like X-Men, Spider Man, Fantastic Four, Batman, and Superman and so on. It has taken so long for people to realize that these pioneers where really geniuses. The Japanese animie artist of course had historical roots in the drawings of the floating world which has again resurrected in the last century with Manga comics. Is this the literature of the new age?

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