Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

The Corrections

I don't read best sellers, as a rule. Some of them actually are good, and I end up reading them long after they have gotten off that NYT list. I read and heard more about The Corrections than usual, though, because of the Oprah controversy. Franzen was characterized as elitist at best when he refused the honor of having his book on Oprah's reading list. One might not feel kindly toward one who would snub a person who is doing her darnedest to get people to read, dammit. I could understand his view, I think, but also hers. In any case, when the book showed up in the Costco piles at a price I could handle, I bought it.

Among much much else, there are several references to various mental conditions in this book. Two of them in particular I think are worth sharing:

p. 77...

Earlier in the day, while killing some hours by circling in blue ballpoint ink every uppercase M in the front section of a month-old New York Times, Chip had concluded that he was behaving like a depressed person. Now, as his telephone began to ring, it occurred to him that a depressed person ought to continue staring at the TV and ignore the ringing - ought to light another cigarette and, with no trace of emotional affect, watch another cartoon while his machine took whoever's message.

That his impulse, instead, was to jump to his feet and answer the phone - that he could so casually betray the arduous wasting of a day - cast doubt on the authenticity of his suffering. ...It seemed to him, as he silenced the TV and hurried into his kitchen, that he was failing even at the miserable task of falling properly apart.


p. 137...

...As he entered the darkroom, he estimated that his levels of Neurofactor 3 (i.e., seratonin: a very, very important factor) were posting seven-day or even thirty-day highs, that his Factor 2 and Factor 7 levels were likewise outperforming expectations, and that his Factor 1 had rebounded from an early-morning slump related to the glass of Armagnac he'd drunk at bedtime. He had a spring in his step, an agreeable awareness of his above-average height and his late-summer suntan. His resentment of his wife, Caroline, was moderate and well contained. Declines led advances in key indices of paranoia (e.g., his persistent suspicion that Caroline and his two older sons were mocking him), and his seasonally adjusted assessment of life's futility and brevity was consistent with the overall robustness of his mental economy. He was not the least bit clinically depressed.

yes, a journal entry for others, but also an entry for my memory bank.

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