Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Not an epilogue

For some time, there was a small note fridgemagneted to our fridge that said "Epilogues are for Tolstoy". The quote is from EM Forster, one of my favourite writers, though for reasons not entirely related to literary merit*. The reference (on my fridge, not in the original) was of course to JK Rowling's Awful Epilogue, but having just finished Crime and Punishment I cannot change my opinion of epilogues - or of Tolstoy - much. That is to say, I do feel that if the content of the epilogue is not intrinsic in the book, it is a bad epilogue, and if it is intrinsic, then the epilogue is unnecessary. So I found myself thinking, upon finishment, "hmm, the redemptive power of love, eh? Why not, I guess." and found myself oddly appeased by what is, most likely, a literary mistake. He pleases me reasonably well, Dostoyevsky does, but I find that I am too frivolous for his writing. The whole thing makes me long for The Master and Margarita, which shows that one can write serious things without utterly jettisoning one's sense of humour; but then I suspect that Dostoyevsky didn't have one to begin with.

There you go then, I have done my bit for world literature and am now off to read Outlander because hopefully it will entertain me without killing any brain cells. That does well enough for me. Actually, perhaps I should hold off on my pile of unread books and re-read The Master and Margarita. It really is one of my life-changing books, on account of being funny, profound, utterly playful, creative, layered and profound. The mix always seemed more lifelike to me than the merely serious or amusing.

*Forster, like Orwell, wins me over with his personal integrity more than his writing; both show me something very personal to me with their writings, something helpful.

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