the unnamed

two thoughts occurred to me this morning after finishing joshua ferris', the unnamed:
  1. i need to take a break from sad and depressing novels
  2. when matt gets home, i am going to hug him and never let go
the unnamed is ferris' second novel and tells the story of tim farnsworth, a successful lawyer who has a seemingly uncontrollable compulsion to walk. as tim tries to define and understand his strange affliction, his wife, jane, stands by his side, unconditional in her love and support for him.

the unnamed, is heartbreaking on several levels. it takes place over, approximately, two decades and tim's affliction has a tendency to ebb and flow during this time. when an episode comes on, all deals are off and staying still becomes physically impossible. it effects tim's professional and personal life profoundly, so when the condition subsides and tim manages to put some of the pieces of his life back together, it becomes all the more heartbreaking when the compulsion resumes.

the isolation and despair that tim experiences as he moves through this life, that he suddenly seems to have little control over, is agonizing but watching his marriage to jane deteriorate despite her desperate efforts, is the worst. both, tim and jane, struggle to do what is best for each other and their marriage but, as tim's affliction worsens, any hope of living happily ever after quickly fades.

dear god, this book is so sad. david poltz, an editor at slate, accurately compared ferris' novel to, the road, by cormac mccarthy, saying, "the unnamed does for marriage what the road did for fatherhood. its depiction of a happy marriage being shattered is almost unbearable." but, like the road, ferris' novel is moving and will help you, at least momentarily, take a look at your life and appreciate the small things we often take for granted.

i definitely recommend ferris', the unnamed. i just don't recommend you read this if you are sad, depressed, going through a break-up/divorce, falling in love, or emotionally unstable. if you are curious about the tone or feel of ferris' work, watch this video from his website. it's described as, 'the unnamed trailer', and i think it gives a good sense of what this book feels like:

in other literary news, i bought my ticket yesterday for the elizabeth hay/miriam toews reading in may, which i am officially beyond excited for. now i only have two months to decide which novel to have toews sign (since i have all of her books). do you think she would be pissed if i brought all five? 

if you're in vancouver, you can find out more about the event here.


californication and my love for marcy runkle

i'm not sure if it was the fact that my mom was so adamant that i watch it or if it was my reluctance to accept david duchovony as anyone else besides fox mulder, but i had been very resistant to giving the showtime series, californication, a chance. however, when matt suggested we watch it one night, i knew it was either that or top gear, so i relented and two seasons later, i'm totally obsessed.

for those of you unfamiliar with the show, here's the deal: duchovony plays hank moody, a well known and respected author who has not penned a novel in some time. originally from new york, he now lives in los angeles, after relocating when one of his novels is made into an insulting romcom. with him he brought his precocious daughter, becca, and his baby momma, karen, who he is separated from when we meet them in the first season. while navigating being a writer (on the verge of being washed-up), a father, and devoted ex to karen (i'm totally aware that sounds like an oxymoron), hank finds himself between the legs of many naked women, often with unsavory consequences.

we just finished the second season and so far i have to say the episodes are fairly formulaic, in that they often consist of a series of unfortunate coincidences that usually land hank in some variation of the proverbial dog house. although i find this a little exhausting, the repetition is compensated by some of the wittiest, sharpest dialogue i've come across in a tv series. the lines that come out these characters' mouths are priceless and so quote worthy. i could watch these characters sit around a dinner table for a half hour and still be adequately amused.

one of the characters that is the most reliably funny is marcy runkle, the wife of moody's agent, who is played by pamela adlon. she is that female archetype that you so often hear me swooning over - tough, loud and a little crazy. every scene she is in will guarantee you laughs and when i learned that adlon used to voice bobby from king of the hill, i fell in love a little more. this woman has the comedic chops to hold this show on her own and if they made a spin off, called the marcy runkle show, or some shit like that, i would be the most devoted fan. here's the best sample i could find on youtube, it is not her funniest moment but it gives you an idea of how amazing she is:

i guess, to make a long story short, i'm saying that even if you're tentative about watching this show, you should give it a chance. and if the comedic writing isn't enough to sell you, the frequent and very hot sex scenes should.

have you watched the show? what do you think?


a nos amour

if you think your family is dysfunctional, you should watch maurice pialat's 1983 film, a nos amour. it stars, sandrine bonnaire, who plays suzanne, a 15 year-old parisian whose family is nothing short of crazy; her father (who is played by pialat) is demanding and aggressive, her mother is a neurotic mess and her brother, who is not only a total polo-shirt-wearing-misogynistic-pilsbury-dough-garçon, he also has an incestuously creepy sense of possession over suzanne. so in order to cope with all of the chaos in her home life, suzanne spends most of her waking life bumping uglies with cute french randoms (and one fateful american), which results in a profound inability to connect with others.

this was the first pialat film i have watched and i will definitely be watching more (if you have any recommendations, let me know). i'm especially curious since the criterion collection referred to pialat as the french cassavetes in their synopsis of a nos amour. that can only mean good things, right?

a nos amour also sealed sandrine bonnaire's spot in my list of most beloved actresses, she is so beautiful and wonderfully detached in this film. it might be interesting to note that this film was bonnaire's debut and it was a daring one at that. it's actually hard to believe she is only 16 in this film. this only solidifies for me that she is an amazing and talented woman, who i can only aspire to be half as wonderful as. i will never get tired of watching her. (note: you should totally watch her in one of my favorite movies, agnes varda's, sans toit ni loi.)

oh. there's also lots of nudity, sordid sex and red wine consumption.

so, if family life has got you down or you're craving a little 1980's french cinema, i highly recommend maurice pialat's, a nos amour. il est très bon! (sorry for the bad french.)


matt and kim will kick your a**

i have never really paid too much attention to the brooklyn duo, matt & kim, even though they've been around since 2004, but i am so into this song right now. cameras is off their late 2010 release, sidewalks, which i have not listened to yet, but i am so going to.

it's true that, cameras, is a really great single. the song is solid and a perfect anthem for kicking winter in the butt. the thing is, if it weren't for the amazing video, i would probably not be buyng a matt & kim album off itunes right now.

seriously, watch this video and tell me the magic of music videos isn't alive and well. i'm totally sold.


i have fun

it's february and most of the country in covered in snow. i've been hearing a lot of canadians yearning for the sunshine of summer lately. since i am a mere mortal, i cannot make summer come any quicker. i can, however, share this sun-shiny video with you. go ahead, put on your bathing suit, pull up a seat and torment yourself with best coast's, when i'm with you:


just kids

i'm not even going to try and hide my love and admiration for patti smith. it's a pretty well known fact that i revere this woman. i can remember hearing her for the first time. i think my roommate, joe, had put horses on matt's computer and i inadvertently came across it one day, listening to itunes on random while cleaning the house.

so i spent the day listening to horses on repeat; eventually i moved onto her other albums. i learned that she was a poet and artist. i dragged matt to see patti smith: dream of life. since then, i have memorized her discography and often hold patti smith themed days, where i put on my best over-sized white shirt and black pegged pants and recite william blake all day long. and now that i've finished reading her latest book, just kids, i don't even know what to do with myself; i'm even more enraptured with her.

just kids is smith's entrancing recount of her relationship with robert mapplethorpe and their co-evolution into successful artists. and if this rather haunting story of friendship isn't enough, smith's memoir is also a genuine taste of the burgeoning arts scene in new york city, during the late 1960's through to the early eighties. as you read, smith and mapplethorpe, who met on the streets of new york, barely adults, blossom from struggling, tentative amateurs into tenacious, skilled artists while bumping into jimi hendrix, babysitting janis joplin and hanging out with william burroughs.

what i loved most about this book, was smith's flawless style. she is a master of words and tells her story with simplicity and tenderness. this book is so full of love and admiration, it's like every word was carefully birthed out of smith's commitment to mapplethorpe and vice-versa. i loved it and that's my totally biased opinion but apparently i'm not the only one who appreciated its greatness, just kids won last year's national book award, which is sort of a big deal.

regardless of how you feel about smith as a musician, she is a writer first and foremost and just kids is arguably one of her best pieces of work. it's a fascinating portrait of an artist* and the apotheosis of a relationship created by destiny, with new york city at a cultural peak as its backdrop. it's a wonderful universe that few of us will ever get to experience but smith successfully recreates the experience for you here.

sure, it's the first and only book that i've read in 2011 but i'm already calling it a favorite read of this year. i feel bad for the books to follow, they have a lot of live up to.

*sorry, i couldn't help myself.


shake it out

i feel like the only thing to say about this video is that it's directed by stephanie clattenburg, it's filmed in halifax and i seriously have been watching it on repeat all day. oh, and that wicked song that won't let you stop moving is by a.a. wallace.