Books I read in Visa Jail 3Follow @gaijinass
I bet you like to snuggle up in bed with a good book once in a while don’t you? Yeah you do. So do I. We all do.
The problem with this though, is that reading sucks. It just does and you know it. Be honest with yourself; when do you read? I can tell you when: Anytime you cannot realistically have a monitor strobing flashy images in your face along with coordinated noises.
Let’s face it; as soon as the Television was invented books were on their way out. The coming of the Personal Computer and then the internet ramped that time-line way up and within a few years, actually holding a book and reading it will be like baking your own bread at home or hand-rolling your cigarettes or knitting. Something totally superfluous, yet a nice, pretentious hobby for wanna-be elitists everywhere.
If you aren’t a student, and I am not (I’m a student of the GAME- sure. But I’m talking about pencil pouches and trapper-keepers here), then it’s likely you have only four times available to you in which you may realistically read each day.
First, on the train during a commute. I read quite a lot while traveling the absurd distances necessary for me to make ends meet. Having a book passes the time and I get to keep my “Pretentious White Man” club card.
Second, I read on the toilet. I have to be honest though, I don’t log as much time on the shitter as other fellas because I’m blessed with ever-present explosive bowels. My body takes its shits seriously, and anytime I head to the latrine it’s like the SAS hitting the Iranian embassy in 1980; FAST, HARD, EXPLOSIVE and INTENSE. Due to this condition I only get about five minutes at the most on the throne at any given sitting.
Third, one could make the case for reading before sleeping, but I never do that. I have another activity I prefer to engage in before nodding off, and I’m not going to discuss it any further because there is a chance my mother will read this article.
Fourth, I read when I’m incarcerated. In fact during these periods I am a reading maniac to the point that I have been referred to as “That Book Gaijin”. Really. Nobody reads like me while in the slammer. Not much of a commitment really. It’s read or think of innovative ways to kill yourself, so I read.
Although it seems most people who read this, including the majority of critics, found the book to be about the struggle of being an immigrant in America or the complex issues behind growing up with two very different paradigms to adhere to, I thought this book was very simply a well written story about everyday life and the ultimate message regarding it; shit happens.
The Namesake begins in India and with the parents, the young newly wed couple as they move to America but very quickly, the primary focus of the entire book is on the character Gogol Ganguli. He is the first-born son of these immigrants and he is American.
I am certain that there are unique experiences that only a first generation ethnic American can claim to understand. I however, found few of these in this book. It seemed to me that the problems and solutions that Gogol is presented with and deals with are terribly universal to almost anyone growing up in a multi-cultural society with parents that have insisted on a path not as well trodden as others. This would likely be a surprisingly high amount of American families, and it surely includes every military family in the country, of which my family may be counted.
Even his name “Gogol Ganguli” is neither Indian nor Russian nor American but some sort of accidental hybrid. And although spawned from good intentions, like so many things, it becomes a point of embarrassment and confusion for this man all through his life.
I will not give a detailed plot summary for The Namesake simply because I think I could do little justice to the book. What I will do is compare it, in some ways, to the all too infamous Harry Chapin classic “Cat’s in the cradle”. A song that absolutely haunts me on levels I’d rather not think about. And yes, this book seems to embody it. If not for content then surely for tone. There is a terrible reality to The Namesake that Jhumpa Lahiri expertly maintains, to the shame of so many other would be “real” authors.
The last thing I will say about this impressive novel, is that this is what Brett Easton Ellis should be writing. No gimmicks. No tricks. Simply the hardest thing to skillfully put on paper; honest real life.
If you’ve been reading GaijinAss for a while, then you have likely seen one or two of the other articles we posted about my literature while in immigration jail. Then you should know that there is always a Ying for every Yang. There has to be balance, so the dark side has to get its time in the lime light too. By dark side, I mean horrible authors and their insulting “novels”.
Hour Game by David Baldacci is not simply on the dark side. It’s the steaming pile of voluminous excrement that the dark side left in a filthy public toilet after an Indian curry “all-you-can-eat” challenge, a bottle of dangerously cheap vodka and a bad decision that involved the words “free” and “base”.
When Baldacci finally published Hour Game, Satan laughed uproariously and smiled, now knowing exactly how to doom this mans black soul to hell.
The plot is too ludicrous to explain in detail, but I can tell you with confidence that like Tess Gerritson, Baldacci is clearly a card-carrying member of the A.T.H.T.A.- “Authors that hate their Audience”.
His loathing for you and his total disrespect for your intellect is thick and juicy.
Let me throw out some buzz words…
- Famous Serial Killers!
- Copy Cat Murderer!
- Disgraced former Secret Service agents!
- Private detectives!
- Rich Dysfunctional Southern Family!
- A Red Neck!
- Speed boats!
- Civil War Reenactments!
Just mix and match and move these around until you come up with something that feels suitably ridiculous and voila, Hour Game.
Sure, Baldacci is laughing it up somewhere, probably with sex slaves from Nicaragua serving him martinis and lighting his cigars while his Nubian man-servant takes memo as David drunkenly outlines his next piece of shit book, but I get some measure of satisfaction knowing he’s going to pay dearly for his crimes against humanity and literature in the burning afterlife.
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