A Different Sort of Messi@h
(for E@ster)

I finally finished reading a novel I started last Christmas, Messi@h by the poet and sometime NPR commentator, Andrei Codrescu. It is definitely readable but there are over a dozen characters with wildly different back stories and many of them are historical characters from throughout world history. Anyway, it is a little confusing some times.

It is like the author worked in an busy used bookstore and read every book that came in and used bits and pieces from all of them as the material for the novel. There is a plot but it seems more “poetic” and not so much a structured narrative. Kind of.

Or, it's like Codrescu had all this info in his head from reading all sorts of things and he wanted to paint a picture with those ideas, and the best way to get all of it out was to write this novel.

Memorable quotes...

the point is,...that I believe you when you say that there is only half of you. Love, and the loss of it, leaves huge holes in us.. Christ, who reputedly loved everyone, was like a sieve by the time he died, nearly transparent. You may not understand this yet but one of my gifts is to look at a person and be able to determine just how much of them there is. Most people, trust me, have had extraordinarily large chunks removed. Their souls are minuscule, like commas in the compact OED. pg 41

Of course the OED reference is lost on anybody who doesn't know that the Oxford English Dictionary is a HUGE book that also came out in a two volume format with minuscule print, in a box complete with drawer for a magnifying glass, to magnify the tiny definitions of big words. From the days before dictionaries on CDs or online.

The divine gift of faith had been perverted by preachers, priest, texts that promised closure, prophesies, depictions of the end, promises of salvation. The wielders of these false closures were guilty of cupidity and ignorance. Pg 348

Interestingly at the beginning of the book he predicts New Orleans is doomed to suffer a major flood and at the end where somebody attempts to bring about the "End Times" the collapsing of the World Trade Center twin towers is depicted.

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