I can Answer That

Fuck all.

John McGahern called his experimental masterpiece That They May Face the Rising Sun, about a small rural Irish community, an “anti-novel” for its rejection of conventional narrative.

“I thought that the act of taking drama out of it, if it was consciously done, could be dramatic in itself,” he told the Observer in 2005. “My whole idea was to take plot and everything else out of the novel and see what was left.”

What you are left with is pretentious, self indulgent wank that no one but the Guardianista wants to read. The whole point of a novel – or film- is that it has a plot. A narrative that takes the reader or observer through a series of events with conflict to resolution. This framework has been with us since the time of oral storytelling for a reason – it works. Pretentious drivel doesn’t. The article itself is just pretentious word salad.


  1. Such an experimental masterpiece is only intriguing while it stands alone. If everybody tried to write such books the original would rapidly lose novelty value and appear as junk. Like a lot of modern art really.

    • Marcel Duchamp cracked a pretty decent gag over a hundred years ago now, and they’ve been repeating it ad nauseam ever since like a bunch of pub bores endlessly reciting the Parrot Sketch. Yes, we get it: “It’s Art because an Artist put it in an Art Gallery, ho-ho”. Except it isn’t, and fuck off.

      (I don’t suppose the bloke who actually made “Fountain” ever got any credit for it, by the way. But then, he wasn’t An Artist.)

  2. Hah! That’s nuthin.
    You should read the Four Figure Logarithmic Tables. Wonderful.
    Then it you want your cup running over you can still find copies of the Eight Figure Logarithmic Tables in special bookshops.
    For a delightful equivalent aural experience procure a wide band short wave radio receiver and time into a Numbers Radio Transmitter. Headphones enhance the experience.
    The excitement and tension of waiting for the next number is exquisite.
    As us Jocks would say, ” Aw, haud me back! “

  3. I rather thought that James Joyce beat him to it, no? After all, there’s precious little coherent plot in “Ulysses”…


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