S & M, part 1

I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to determine what was jarring about the author’s writing style, until I reached a new chapter and the culpable phrases began jumping off the pages…

… like pearls cascading the stairs from a broken strand of necklace.

Erm. You’ll get what I mean.

From Ilustrado, the book I’m reading this month:

“Jacob ran like his pants were on fire,” p. 111

“They waited for what seemed like an eternity,” p. 112

“Miguel comforts the dying man, ‘who cradles his entrails as if they were the entirety of his life lived previous to this scene in chiaroscuro,'” p. 113

“The plane’s shadow is like a water-skier on the meniscus of the unknown,” p. 114

“He thrashes his arms above him, as if having just walked through a spider’s web,” p. 114

“… his posture peaceful, curved like a closing hand,” p. 114

“Sits in a gridlock like a patient waiting his turn for the dentist,” p. 114

“He watches the big metal gate as if he has X-ray vision and can see the house beyond,” p. 115

“He watches the wall as if old home movies are being projected on it,” p. 115.

“He looks like a man waiting for the firing squad,” p. 115

“There are only faces in the crowd, like a field of flowers, if flowers could frown and spit and look at their watches,” p. 115

“(Vendors) carry newspapers, like waiters with armloads of dishes,” p. 116

“(Vita Nova is) dressed like a rape victim,” p. 116

“That sensation of being watched. Like when you sit through a horror film then come to an empty apartment,” p. 117

“A driver is gazing ahead as if willing the traffic forward with his mind…” p. 117

There is none on page 118; it’s like a wrinkle that is suspiciously absent from your grandfather’s face.

At this point, I hope you’ve noted the frequency they appear on one page alone. Alas, we forge onward.

“They edge sideways like adolescent boys along the wall at a school dance,” p. 119

“Signs flash like a row of pantyless chorus girls,” p. 119

“His apartment was above the famous Corner Bistro, and he said it was like living upstairs from your favorite brothel,” p. 120

“It started to rain, and he and I ran, like lovers in a romantic comedy…” p. 120

“The kids began jumping over the puddles, the eldest, about eleven, laughing like a seagull,” p. 120

It has come to a point that I can’t even concentrate on the story; page after page, I’m on the lookout for the similes and metaphors that the author may have employed this time around.

I would have given up, really, especially after reading this sentence:

“His epiglottis has seized,” p. 114

but the book has won the Palanca and the Man Asia Literary Prize, and earned raves from the Guardian and New York Times, so what do I know right?

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13 thoughts on “S & M, part 1

  1. Jason says:

    It's funny when it's really funny (except for the Erning anecdotes) but my main beef is that I'm having a hard time separating Miguel from Crispin — to me, they sound the same, especially now that I'm aware of the author's writing style. (Juice ko, I hope it doesn't run like that throughout the novel.) I'm also having a hard time thinking of them as real persons instead of characters in a novel. Their lives sound so… curated.

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  2. Melita says:

    Hi, Jason! I've just finished reading Ilustrado after 8 months of trying to finish the damn thing. Blogged about it, too, but now that I think about it, mali atang nag devote ako ng isang buong entry just for that darn book.

    Like

  3. Jason says:

    Hi Aimee! My copy gathered dust too! Started reading it several months back then I dropped it after the prologue. Feeling ko na tuloy major accomplishment pag natapos ko 'to, lol!

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  4. Mackay says:

    Got intrigued by all the accolades, bought the book, read it, less than a hundred pages and 3 months later it became my toilet read. Gross, sad but oh so true. Sakit sa bangs but I've finally finished it. Left me w/ no lasting impressions for awhile until I read your post and I just have to comment =))

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