Top critical review
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on 16 December 2016
"Thousands of words myriad interpretations/ Are only to free you from obstructions..." - so says Shitou Xiqian's 'Song of The Grass Hut' - well worth a read, alongside Ben Connelly's useful commentary 'Inside The Grass Hut', if you can find it.
There's plenty of words in Beck's 'Nothing Special' and it does get a bit repetitive. Still, attritionally, it rams home the message I guess. Perhaps it's only a stylistic preference but compared with, Ezra Bayda, say, I do feel Beck's prose lacks warmth, plus, she rather lectures. She's very convinced by her own assessments, including the notion that no truly realised person exists, which strikes me as needlessly presumptuous. Then there's the clunky metaphors she employs: whirlpools, plug sockets, Victorian houses. All of them indulgent misjudgements that actually only serve to confuse the points she's trying to make, in my opinion.
Beck has a strong grip on the Zen essentials though and conveys them in an everyday language using everyday situations as examples. It's a commendable achievement and certainly worth the reading effort.