Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

It’s What He Would Have Wanted

with 7 comments

I was round a friend’s house on sunday and I was surprised to see half a copy of Wolf Hall on her shelf. She had taken a knife to Hillary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novel because she is currently on crutches and she found it just too bulky to manage easily. Now, some might see this as a gross act of cultural vandalism but it struck me as boldly practical. It also reminded me of a problem of my own:

2666 by Roberto Bolaño is what can only be described as a big bastard book. This is because it is actually five novels (or novellas, at least). Bolaño left instructions prior to his death that the five parts of the “novel” be published individually at the rate of one a year. Instead, this edition has a short ‘Note From The Author’s Heirs’ which basically says nah, we decided not to do that. They didn’t count on me and my craft knife though:


Written by Martin

14 April 2010 at 07:34

Posted in books

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7 Responses

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  1. Hah. Well done. I know of at least one case where someone split a hardcover copy of 2666 and each of the five individual parts properly rebound. And I think when Dan was moaning about 2666 being too long, I suggested to him that he cut it into bits so he’d be reading five shorter books instead.

    It’s not something I’d do myself (seeing as, with my own books, I’m in the ‘The Book is a Sacred Relic and should not be damaged!’ camp), but more power to you and the others who do. Maybe in the future I’ll change my stance – most recently I read the second volume of Octavian Nothing and found that was almost uncomfortably large to hold and read.

    Nick H.

    14 April 2010 at 13:47

  2. I’m not actively hunting for new opportunities to practice my butchery but it was a liberating experience. I should probably try re-binding as the next step.

    The worst thing about reading The Ascent Of Wonder – yes, even worse than some of the stories – is that it is actually physically painful. After reading a single story my thumb hurts and my vestigal wing flap is red raw. I couldn’t imagine chopping that up though.


    14 April 2010 at 15:08

  3. That’s definitely the reason I haven’t finished Wolf Hall – too big to hold. (On the other hand, the reason why I haven’t finished 2666 is because I have a half written post about the first section that I want to post before I start the second novella.)


    14 April 2010 at 18:43

  4. Ohhhhh myyyy GOD, such savagery, barbarism, this is murder!!!

    The Fantasizer

    17 April 2010 at 18:28

  5. Brilliant!

    Need to get round to part two this month, if I can…


    18 April 2010 at 22:23

  6. I must say I like the way prison-bar shadows artfully fall across the dismembered artefact in your second photo, there.

    Adam Roberts

    19 April 2010 at 13:55

  7. Right, I’ve read The Part About The Critics now which means Chance has to post about and then we can all get on with the next bit.


    28 April 2010 at 12:18

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