The Novel, Unplugged

Did you happen to see the essay on the back page of yesterday’s (July 18, 2010) New York Times Book Review? It’s by Gary Shteyngart (also interviewed by Deborah Solomon in the Sunday mag about his new novel Super Sad True Love Story – the greedy gut!). It’s called “Only Disconnect,” and is a witty take on “unplugging” for a weekend in upstate New York and reading a novel instead of playing with his iphone:

“I open a novel, A Short History of Women, by Kate Walbert, a book I will grow to love over the coming week, but at first my data-addled brain is puzzled by the density and length of it (256 pages? How many screens will that fill?), the onrush of feeling and fact, the surprise that someone has let me not into her Facebook account but into the way other minds work. I read and reread the first two pages understanding nothing. Big things are happening. World War I. The suffragist movement. Out of instinct I almost try to press the text of the deckle-edged pages, hoping something will pop up, a link to something trivial and fast. But nothing does. Slowly, and surely, just as the sun begins to swoon over the Hudson River and another Amtrak honks its way past Rhinebeck, delivering its digital refugees upstream, I begin to sense the world between covers, much as I sense the world around me, a world corporeal and complete, a world that doesn’t need the press of my thumb, because here beneath the weeping willow my input is meaningless.”

How cool for Kate, her book as the delivery mechanism for such a revelation.

One Response to The Novel, Unplugged

  1. I want you to write another post!

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