Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

classics
15827137

Source: Amazon

 

To the next person who reads this book:

Notes from the Underground: I wanted to know what the underground was.

At once I was drawn in by the tone of the narrator. This was an interesting character. The story is about how the narrator : –

missed life through decaying morally in a corner, not having sufficient means, losing the habit of living, and carefully cultivating [his] anger underground.

It soon became clear that the ‘underground’ was a place the narrator lived, not literally speaking, after falling out of the grooves of society and forgetting what it meant to live and to be human.

This novel is about the anti-hero. It makes the point  that we can hardly live as people without our books, without our books telling us who we are and how we should be.

Important to this character is the anger and spitefulness he has grown, or ‘cultivated’ – which is more harmful to him than it is the other he directs it at. More importantly, he lets it, out of spite.

The question that leads this novel to the end is the question of why and how this narrator who has forgotten what it is to live, love and feel happiness; whose existence is the underground; got to be the way he was.  The Underground is the place a person exists in when they cease being  a social being, conforming to social standards, or caring for themselves as human beings.

In many ways – this is what depression does to us. And there is no doubt that the narrator is not suffering from a great ‘mental pain.’

 

 

 

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Chocolates for Breakfast – Pamela Moore

coming of age

 

Image: Title page art by Carter Kegelman. Designed by Michael Correy. Amazon

 

To the next person who reads this book:

In this coming-of-age story, Courtney sets out to experience all she can as she becomes a ”woman” – but seems haunted by a certain “ugliness” in all that she does.

We follow Courtney through love affairs, family drama and cocktail parties as she splits her time between her parents homes in New York and Los Angelos.

This novel is written with a certain charm – a charm which lives in the descriptions of its  intriguing characters and settings. Particularly memorable in this respect are our introductions to the boarding school where Courtney lives, and her best friend, Janet.

But at the end of this book – I felt deeply affected by the ‘about the author’ section, which reveals the parallels between protagonist Courtney Farrell and author Pamela Moore.

As well as Chocolates for Breakfast Moore wrote four other novels – though none were as successful as her first. The “ugliness” Courtney speaks of in the novel seems to have been something that also haunted Pamela Moore, who, unlike Courtney, didn’t survive the ugliness.

Read the book – then read about Pamela Moore. It’s influence when it was published in 1956 was far reaching – so it shouldn’t be forgotten now. This is a story that, like Emma Straub puts it in the foreword:-

is the very best kind of story – a tale of imagined sophistication, of New York City apartments, of Hollywood has-beens, of family tragedy, of beatnik intellectuals, of private school crushes, and of time traversed through fiction.

It deserves to be read.