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Old 12th Aug 2004, 17:51   #21
amner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colyngbourne
how many times do we ever read a (modern) story which ends entirely to the protagonist's satisfaction? Almost never.
Ah, yes, good point I guess. Curious Incident did too, of course (didn't it? :? ) and I accepted that...
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Old 15th Aug 2004, 14:18   #22
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I took a second look into the book (I wasn't going to, but on one other, Polish, forum I posted that I'd post about VGL; still haven't but I will) and now I'm amazed how carelessly I had read the last pages. My general idea of the ending was that Vernon, following Lasalle's advice, decides to play God, and to exercise real power by fulfilling people's needs ('Learn their needs and they’ll dance to any fuckin tune'). He observes the moths, reflects on Kurt the dog, makes the phone calls, finally kneels down and prays to God. But the point is, he is God. And everything starts to tie up so neatly, too neatly – but after all it's deus ex machina... OK. But I admit that I was so irritated with this stuff (which I thought forced, and, frankly, absurd – trying to solve the inconsistencies in the novel by a metaphor!) that I sped through the last pages and actually missed some points. I didn't notice, for example, what happened to Taylor – but this is a small one. I completely didn’t pick up on Vernon’s father!

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My father was better than Mr Navarro, until the end anyway. (p.16, Harcourt edition)
Quote:
Mom scurries across our porch with a tray of listless ole joy cakes. She’s in Spooked Deer mode. She looked this way the last time I saw my daddy alive (…) She heads down the steps past our willow, the one with her wishing bench under it. The wishing bench is quite a new feature around here, but already the damned thing’s listing into the dirt. (p. 20)
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Me, I'd love to explain the sequence of events last Tuesday. But I’m in a bind, see. I have family honor to think of. And I have my Ma to protect, now that I'm Man of the House and all. (p. 36)
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To be honest, the gun ain’t such a big deal. The fingertips on the gun are my fucken problem.(p.75)
Quote:
[Vernon to his mother]:

‘Wishing bench is airborne this end,’ I say, to break the ice.’Like the dirt’s caving in underneath.’
‘Well Vernon just shutup! – you did this to me, all this – all this fucking shit.’ (p. 115)
Quote:
Lally reels in wild circle, confused, caressing the rifle, erasing Mom’s fingerprints, and her worries, forever. (p. 271)
Quote:
Mom bunts me over the porch and down to the wishing bench, where the man from the morgue hovers. 'Let me shake your hand, son,' he says, 'your daddy would’ve been mighty proud.'
'Thank you,' I say, breathing in the clear blue day.
Yessir, that was some turnaround. What's your secret?
'I went down on my knees and prayed, sir.'
'Mighty fine,' he says, turning to Mom. And ma'am – I think we can process that earlier insurance matter just now – the body clearly can't be found.'
'Well thank you, Tuck' says Mom, running a hand over her wishing bench.


Somehow I didn't notice all that. Now I have to withdraw much of my criticism, but I still can't sincerely say that I liked the book.
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Old 15th Aug 2004, 15:57   #23
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You know, M., I was just telling Amner on Friday: I hadn't picked up that Vernon's mother had shot his father until about a day after I had finished the book...it just hit me all of a sudden while I wasn't even really thinking about it.

I hadn't picked up on the clues about the wishing bench, though...well done.

As I have said, there were several unforeseen twists in the plot and such, more than enough to keep me reading with interest. I'm not at all disappointed that I've devoted time to read it.
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Old 16th Aug 2004, 10:45   #24
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I was reading this book with growing discomfort and irritation that he cared so little about his supposed friend, the shootings and school life in general - and instead focusing on adults and especially on his mother. It seemed so unnatural. I remember thinking that this was absurd, all this mocking (and even not really rebellious) attitude, if it's the position he took from the start and not developed in the course of the book (or caused by something that happened earlier - I really thought that). I couldn't get the motivation of Vernon's behaviour at all and, and it was oddly unnerving me. Suffice to say that when I finally had my illumination (heh, better late than never), my chief feeling was relief.
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 14:08   #25
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God, how negative I sound throughout this thread. And the truth is, in some twisted way I liked this book or more precisely some things about it. And I'm really glad I read it - thanks Colyngbourne. :)
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Old 18th Aug 2004, 16:56   #26
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Finally got this in the mail via bookcrossing. Have been reading madly. Will join the fray soon.
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Old 18th Aug 2004, 17:43   #27
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I've just started it and the 'fucken' and 'gr-hh' are beginning to grate already......
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Old 18th Aug 2004, 20:26   #28
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In Defence of Vernon God Little:

First off, I thought this was really quite funny. I guess I’m a sucker for bathroom humor, so I really got a kick out of Vernon’s lurid tongue.

Second: I don’t buy the idea that VGL is directed at a certain audience that excludes Americans. I grew up in Houston, TX & am intimately familiar with some of the geography in VGL. (Pierre—there’s no such thing as UT Houston, man!) According to the fallacy of intended audience, I shouldn’t have enjoyed this as much as I did.

Third: Can we really criticize VGL for being unrealistic? Naturalism is one mode of fictional presentation among many. And an argument can be made, rightly in my mind, that the naturalistic mode is based on implicit conventions rather than actual real resemblance to life as we experience it. I mean, Sister Carrie & Vernon God Little are both just words & pages. Do we criticize Bugs Bunny for a lack of verisimilitude? No, we take it for what it is and enjoy what it has to offer.

Fourth: I don’t think this is really as shallow a book as it’s been made out to be. The paraphrase of Kant, the relentless references to movies, the motif of paradigm shifts: these suggest to me that a statement is being made. Okay, likely it’s not a new statement (honestly, what is?) but is it relevant? I say so. In addition to this thematic matrix concerned with questions of reality vs. representation, there is another that interests me. It’s right there in the author’s pen name: Dirty But Clean. The shit jokes, the panty fixation, the sliminess of it all...they are a statement of another kind. I take it as an attack on hypocrisy. I mean, we’re all afflicted by some “condition” or another (the human condition?). So who’s judge who’s dirty & who’s clean? Vernon, for all of the slime he gets into, was a loyal friend and a filial son. A flawed hero, and therefore likeable. Anyway, I’ve lost track of the argument, so I’ll leave it at that for #4.

Fifth & finally: Vernon’s narration is just so exuberant and chock full of delightful phrases, even if there were nothing to the story at all, it would still be a joy to read. (If, I guess, you have a high tolerance for smutty, adolescent humor.) So, with that, I rest my case.
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Old 19th Aug 2004, 7:36   #29
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Rick, you just said everything that I wasn't capable of writing. :D Glad you enjoyed it too!
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Old 28th Feb 2006, 20:36   #30
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Default Re: Book Number 12 - VERNON GOD LITTLE by DBC Pierre

I read this over a period of two days. The reading went swiftly and I wasn't bored with the story at all, yet I really felt like something was missing; like there could've been more to the book, but there wasn't.
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