Wednesday, August 02, 2006

All the King’s Men (by Robert Penn Warren)

I tried to read this book a few times, but could never get into it, and quit after a few pages. I thought, oh, it’s a penisy white guy book about politics, blah blah blah. But, thanks to the reading project, I borrowed another copy and gave it one more valiant attempt. And oh my god. This book is magnificent. Magnificent. I was incredibly impressed by the vivid, realistic characters that populate the novel, but I was most impressed by the author’s use of metaphor. The man has an astounding way with metaphor. In fact, I can’t think off the top of my head of another author who can wield a metaphor like Robert Penn Warren. And I have a poetry degree. Even if I had known that I would love this novel, I would never have guessed that it would be a stylistic type of love.

I’ve also never had so many strangers come up to me and say “Oh, that’s a great novel, you’ll love it.” I had several people on the train say it; and last night, a woman at a bar sat down next to me just to tell me how much she loved the book. No book I’ve carried around with me has ever gotten that response. I don’t know if there are people out there who don’t like the book, but now I know that there are a whole lot of people who love it. Do yourself a favor and go out and read this. If you don’t like the first chapter, stick with it. It’s really worth it.

"Then, after a while, the sun was in my eyes, for I was driving west. So I pulled the sun screen down and squinted and put the throttle to the floor. And kept on moving west.

For West is where we all plan to go someday. It is where you go when the land gives out and the old-field pines encroach. It is where you go when you get the letter saying:
Flee, all is discovered. It is where you go when you look down at the blade in your hand and see the blood on it. It is where you go when you are told that you are a bubble on the tide of empire. It is where you go when you hear that thar's gold in them-thar hills. It is where you go to grow up with the country. It is where you go to spend your old age. Or it is just where you go.

It was just where I went."
(Page 270)

3 Comments:

Blogger Purl said...

I've had the same experience. I've tried to read it several times, but couldn't get into it at all. But now I've discovered the beauty of his prose. (I put the book down because a couple of books I was waiting for came in from the library, but I'm looking forward to getting back to it.)

12:09 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

And the movie comes out next month, featuring Kate Winslet as Anne Stanton.

2:31 PM  
Blogger mo pie said...

I know! I am not sure if I want to see it, but Kate will probably swing the deal.

3:52 PM  

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