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It is really easy to disparage Adjunct: an Undigest , by Peter Manson. Based on comments at this group, I knew that this book was beyond odd before I even found it at the library. The first words confirmed my suspicions that it was pretentious gobbledy-gook.
So I set myself the challenge to find something good to say about it. Immediately I got the sense that Manson was relating his work somehow to the music of John Cage. Also, I saw that he was a poet. Okay, but it was still pretty much gibberish, and I had another 72 pages to go. Could I get through it? I wondered. I doubted. So off to the internet to do some research. Maybe there was some sense to this seventy-five and one-half page paragraph. And I found it. Someone out there had quoted something from Manson's webpage though I've looked for it and can't find it there myself.
During the seven years the notebook took to fill, I expanded the project to include brief notations of events in my life that seemed worth recording: long periods of unemployment, jobs and loves won and lost, the ebb and flow of an unhelpful alcohol problem — always recorded on randomly-chosen pages, taking their place among the found and appropriated language.
One day the racing-driver James Hunt died, and I noted the fact in Adjunct. The notation sat so strangely on the page that when anyone else I had heard of died, that went into the mix too. Making sense of Adjunct: an Undigest , part 2. Also, on his website, there is a link to a collage picture he made when writing the book.
Actual newspaper clippings, glued to a page. All of a sudden, it made sense. So not every little blurb had a deep meaning. I was free to relax and just let the art wash over me.
I could read it quickly, and not worry about understanding every little word. These were just sound bites he overheard or read. Some of them were pretty funny.
I found myself getting addicted to the book. I found myself writing my own person Adjunct in my head. I was gasp having fun. If I had read this back when I was 18 sometime between the demise of the Sex Pistols and the rise of Madonna , I would have thought this was flippin' brilliant.
Now, as a grown up, I think it's an interesting experiment that has some highly amusing moments. Do I think it belongs on the list? Well, especially considering how difficult it is to find a copy, probably not. But I'm glad I read it. And I was right about the John Cage connection.
He references the musician 18 times, and outright says it:". Does anyone else have any thoughts on it? I read bits of this book when I think about it. I've had the photocopy of it lying around for over two years now. I usually read a couple of pages at a time. I have read longer stretches, sort of getting into the rhythm of the words. I would not call it fun reading though. My thoughts at this point half way through are that even though the work is basically random phrases there is a certain flow.
I was pretty amazed at that. Also, I find the "insert name is dead" phrases to be oddly moving. Like all this stuff represents life, the chaos of it all.
In between, lives just end at different places, without warning, but things keep going. I like that metaphor a lot, but I have no idea if Manson was going for that. Is it brilliant? No, as Nickelini wrote, it's an interesting experiment. However, do I think it belongs on the list? Part of the rationale of the list seems to be an exploration of the question "what makes a novel?
Adjunct is such a dramatic departure from the usual idea of the novel's structure and purpose that its expands on the ideas mentioned by Boxall in the introduction.
The book wouldn't be the same without it. Too bad it is so difficult to find and will probably not appear in subsequent editions. I've read about 12 pages so far and I really like it. I mean, I never expected a story, I knew what the book was about and how it was created ahead of time, so I wasn't saying "What the? If there is a flow or a pattern in the novel, it is a fluke because he wrote the phrases at random. I just happen to love reading well-written phrases even if they are not within the context of a story.
Plus, there are a bunch of phrases that made me laugh out loud like: "Every time the track changes on the Elvis album, Andy gets up and does his Elvis dance with his crotch directly above Alasdair's head. Probably doesn't belong in the list, but I am glad it was in there because I am enjoying the writing I've come across quite a few books that I didn't think were Great or Important, but they were Different. The books list is great for people who tend to read from certain genres only and want to expand their reading selections that would be me.
Looking for something new and different. We need to talk about books. Hit me at mediasite gmail. I loved it. I listened to it in the car probably 50 times in a row. It's made even better by the fact that it's read by Manson.
Group: Books to read before you die 3, members 37, messages. About This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic. Group: Books to read before you die 3, members 37, messages About This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.
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Adjunct: an Undigest, by Peter Manson
Adjunct: an Undigest
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