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5.0 out of 5 stars How to Reduce Flight Time and arrive Refreshed, 30 July 2013
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This review is from: Pulp: A Novel (Paperback)
As the back cover informs us, 'Pulp' is a fantastical pastiche of a detective story. True in one sense, but this gem of a novel is far more than that. For behind the joyful facade of the quick-fire wise-cracks (Think, The Marx Bros interpret Raymond Chandler) there lie countless serious messages about life, how to cope with one's existence - how to do the best you can with what you've got ... Someone once said that life is known only to those who suffer, endure adversity and stumble from one defeat to another. Here, we have such examples in spadefuls. But don't despair, for it's almost hidden by the humour.
Dig deeper under the fun and you'll find re-interpretations of the work of other writers. Bukowski re-affirms Nietzsche's opinion of the human race with, 'Boring damned people. All over the earth' (154) Likewise, Virginia Woolf had clearly thought about how we cope with whatever life throws our way with, 'Thus we spin around us infinitely fine filaments and construct for ourselves a system'. Bukowski's take is: (Life is about) 'The needed machinery of the moment. And those needs keep altering'. (128) The Socratic notion that 'The unexamined life is not worth living', comes from Bukowski's pen as, 'We were all just hanging around waiting to die and meanwhile doing little things to fill the space. Some of us weren't even doing that. We were vegetables'. (147) Our indifference to polluting the planet is clearly stated in p 127, when the visiting Space-aliens decide to leave this earth. 'We've thought it over. It's too awful. We don't want to colonise this earth', and then explain why.
This book is short, and the numerous theories that come in momentarily are what give it its true strength/appeal. Think, Life, ageing, loneliness, attachment theory - it's all there, but only in the fleeting moment, so the flow of the book is never disturbed. While the profound themes are never far away, the wise-cracks are ever present. Obesity: 'He wasn't a fat guy. He was two fat guys'. The name of the psychologist (82) is Seymour ... It's all a bit like Frasier Crane trying to make sense of the Marx Bros. (At the bar) 'Don't I get a receipt?' 'A what?' 'A receipt' ' 'Spell it' ' 'I can't' 'Then you don't get it' (113)
And how to reduce the flight time? Ah yes, I was coming to that ... Yes, the 4 hour flight from the UK to the Canaries was over in just 10 seconds.
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