Walk hard

By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  January 13, 2010

This plot turn, among others — the first sequence to describe one of Tim's walks from beginning to end, rather than in fragments, is almost comically awkward — seems uncertain and frustrating at first, but Ferris proves committed to Tim's downward spiral. Tim becomes consumed in an elemental struggle, shedding belongings and attachments until only his body and his mind remain. They engage in a brutal, lonely war against one another, and amid the feverish internal logic of the novel's final section, it's unclear what victory for either might mean for Tim, or his family. Meanwhile, nature itself becomes an ancillary character, representing both the beauty and lifeblood ignored in the everyday and the unrelenting, unpredictable force that has no sympathy for a lost soul.

In very different ways, both of Ferris's novels suggest that a life of routine offers disquieting contradictions: our workaday lives leave us feeling both comfortable and imprisoned, and the two emotions are inevitably symbiotic. The Unnamed is bold enough to ask what happens when we abandon that cage. The comforts Ferris offers at the end of this thought experiment are cold, but they're unnervingly well realized.

Christopher Gray can be reached at cgray@phx.com.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Books , Entertainment, Media, Books,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY CHRISTOPHER GRAY
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   GIRLS (AND BOYS) ON FILM  |  July 11, 2014
    The Maine International Film Festival, now in its 17th year in Waterville, remains one of the region’s more ambitious cultural institutions, less bound by a singular ambition than a desire to convey the breadth and depth of cinema’s past and present. (This, and a healthy dose of music and human-interest documentaries.) On that account, MIFF ’14 is an impressive achievement, offering area filmgoers its best program in years. With so much to survey, let’s make haste with the recommendations. (Particularly emphatic suggestions are marked in bold print.)  
  •   AMERICAN VALUES  |  June 11, 2014
    The Immigrant  seamlessly folds elements of New York history and the American promise into a story about the varieties of captivity and loyalty.
  •   CHARACTER IS POLITICAL  |  April 10, 2014
    Kelly Reichardt, one of the most admired and resourceful voices in American independent cinema, appears at the Portland Museum of Art Friday night to participate in a weekend-long retrospective of her three most recent films.
  •   LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX  |  April 09, 2014
    Throughout its two volumes and four hours of explicit sexuality, masochism, philosophical debate, and self-analysis, Nymphomaniac remains the steadfast vision of a director talking to himself, and assuming you’ll be interested enough in him to listen and pay close attention.
  •   ASHES AND DIORAMAS  |  March 28, 2014
    History, rather than ennui, is the incursion that motivates this, his most antic and most somber work.

 See all articles by: CHRISTOPHER GRAY