Monday, 24 January 2011

The Blind Eye

Don Paterson

It's right to do something a bit different, today: this is my 100th post, and I've just passed my 100th follower. As one of nature's premiere Giver-Uppers, I'm pretty happy to have got that far.

So here's what I'm doing differently: this is a review of a book I haven't read yet.

Haven't finished, anyway.

But that's okay; it's not a novel. The Blind Eye is a collection of aphorisms by the poet Don Paterson, and you're not meant to read it start to finish.  (Even I, who grew up reading books of quotations and one-liners as if they were novels, prefer to dip in and out of this one.)

The aphorisms stretch from sentence fragments to an entire page, and from flippancy to the murky depths of self-analysis (the obsession is not of his self, as one aphorism points out, but the self; he could be just as easily obsessed with yours, if it was as readily available for study). Often, the flippancy and intensity are, gratifyingly, one and the same; occasionally, left to their own, they become see-through or obtuse.

I love these varying fractions of anti-wisdom, but I must confess love for the form alone. I've already mentioned that I used to (still do) read books of quotations or jokes; starting from page one; with a bookmark; vainly searching for a plot. It's a pipe dream of mine to write a novel that is presented as a book of quotations. The Quotable Edward Awful, or something. What a great gimmick that would be, and I'd only have to write the killer lines! (Vainly searching for a plot...)

I guess I really should quote The Blind Eye, it being a list of the best bits to quote already. And as this is my blog-centenary, I know which one:

You've made a blog... Clever boy! Next: flushing.

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