The MacLamity

The News That Stays News, Reported Live

Monday, February 21, 2005


We have a habit of not calling the best novels novels and instead we call them:
Science fiction.
Tale, fable, allegory.
Philosophical novel.
Dream novel.
Visionary novel.
Literature of fantasy.
Wisdom lit.
Sexual turn-on.
Sontag reckoned only one good book is all of the above: "Under the Glacier."

[P.S.] Manx nationalism forces me to say the following about the following: "In Laxness's story, a sojourn near Snaefells does not call for the derring-do of a descent, a penetration, since, as Icelanders who inhabit the region know, the glacier itself is the center of the universe. The supernatural -- the center -- is present on the surface, in the costume of everyday life in a village whose errant pastor has ceased to conduct services or baptize children or bury the dead. Christianity -- Iceland's confession is Evangelical Lutheran -- is the name of what is normal, historical, local.* (The agricultural Viking island converted to Christianity on a single day at the Althing, the world's oldest national parliament, in 999.) But what is happening in remote Snaefells is abnormal, cosmic, global." The Isle of Man's Snaefell, while less grand than Snaefells, has a tram that rides to its summit, which Snaefells doesn't, and its parliament, while slightly younger, has never stopped meeting, which makes the Isle of Man way more abnormal, cosmic, and global than any of the crap Iceland can come up with.