6.20.2011

Bookish {- Adjective. 1. given or devoted to reading or study.} 2011




I remember seeing my first Edward Gorey book in the sixth grade. I was fascinated. The dark, tiny illustrations with their meticulous, obsessive attention to detail coupled with text that was both archaic and witty--I thought it was hilarious, inappropriate, and intriguing. Since then, I have had a real fondness for the work of Mr. Gorey. I was excited when Darling brought home what I suspected to be a biography of the artist, unfortunately, the work didn't fulfill my expectations. One Goodreads reviewer put it perfectly:
A bizarre tribute/biography of Gorey by a friend and collaborator. The tone is certainly Gorey-Victorian. Bring your thesaurus. This book is a pretentious name-dropping nightmare. It is fine when done to give a snapshot of Gorey's likes and dislikes, but way overdone.
The book serves as a catalog and platform for Mr. Theroux to show us just how many obscure references and terms he could put to use while partially relaying conversations he had with Mr. Gorey. The writing was pretentious and wordy to the point of using parenthetical statements to explain itself and define words for the reader--there is something to be said for clarity and accessibility. More than a few times Theroux talks in circles, oftentimes recycling information; the disorganization of the text is distracting. I found myself put out by the author's insertion of himself so boldly in the forefront of the text. Rather than adding a sense of intimacy to the story, I found the author trying to outshine his subject. The most interesting parts were those about Gorey (the first time they were mentioned) and the included illustrations and posters. 

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