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Water Music (The Penguin Contemporary…
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Water Music (The Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series) (original 1982; edição 1983)

por T.C. Boyle

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,0752114,093 (4.2)40
The year is 1795: George III is dabbing the walls of Windsor castle with spittle, Goya is deaf, De Quincey is a depraved pubescent and young Ludwig van Beethoven is wowing them in Vienna with his second piano concerto.
Membro:Johns_wifes_lover
Título:Water Music (The Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series)
Autores:T.C. Boyle
Informação:Penguin (Non-Classics) (1983), Edition: 25 Rep Anv, Paperback, 464 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

Pormenores da obra

Water Music por T. C. Boyle (1982)

  1. 00
    Mason & Dixon por Thomas Pynchon (Widsith)
    Widsith: Two postmodern adventure novels about eighteenth-century British explorers.
  2. 00
    Quicksilver por Neal Stephenson (lyzadanger)
    lyzadanger: Similar buffoonish, humorous treatment of English historical figures.
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Reading this is like a plunge into a sickly bath of filth and depravity. After a few chapters I wanted to go out for a walk in the fresh air; avoiding my local pig farm, thankful that I am living in the 21st century. London at the turn of 18th century seems little different from Central Africa when these events took place. There are two principle story lines: Mungo Park's explorations in Central Africa and Ned Rise's struggles to escape the poverty of a teeming London, there is no doubt that the two story threads will come together at some point. The story of Mungo Park is based on historical events; Mungo Park was a Scottish explorer seized with the idea of mapping the course of the River Niger while Ned Rise is a character invented by the author, both suffer horrible vicissitudes trying to survive their environments.

The whole book is one long overblown, overripe extravaganza. Was it really like this in the period: 1794 -1806? Was Mungo Park such an idiot?. Of course it is a caricature, but caricatures are based on something and how much of that something is exaggerated by T C Boyle is probably the whole point of the book: it does however make for a lively entertainment. The novel at over 400 pages seems overlong, however in my opinion it is saved by a very exciting account of Mungo Park's final chase down the River Niger, juxtaposed with his wife Ailie's calm acceptance of a life without her husband. After all the wallowing in the filth of Africa and of London, Boyle manages to infuse a little realism in the final section of the novel.

Ned Rise like Mungo Park seems indestructible

"Neither dysentery nor ague has touched him, so inured is he to filth and deprivation, so hardened against the assault of microbes by a lifetime of wallowing in the shit, scum and slime of Londons's foulest and most putrid holes"

Boyle has by this point in the novel been at pains to describe in lurid detail all of that shit, scum and slime of London as well as the barbaric shit, scum and slime of central Africa and the best that can be said of his two main characters is that they survive all that is thrown at them. When we meet Mungo in Africa he is like a rag doll figure, he is continually battered and bruised, but staggers on to the next disaster, with an air of a man who is born to lead, but with hardly a thought in his head. Ned thinks he is a self-centred fool, but follows him nevertheless. At one point in the story Mungo has a moments reflection; wondering why he finds himself about to embark on a hazardous journey just before the start of the rainy season, but quickly dismisses it: after all why should he dwell on niggling little unpleasantnesses, when he is about to make a historic journey. A caricature then rather than a characterisation, Boyle does not waste much time getting inside the heads of his characters assuming that they are as greedy, lustful and self-centred as any other human beings.

The overpowering impression that the book leaves is of the muck, filth and stench that appears to be everywhere at the turn of the eighteenth century. The drunkenness, the perversion is told with so much gleeful detail that if the reader was accused of burying his nose in a book he might retort that he has had his nose rubbed into this book. I am all for an author adding realism to his writing and appreciate that Central Africa and the poorer districts of London were not noted for their cleanliness, but one can have too much of it.

T C Boyle has used Mungo Park's own written account of his first journey "Travel in the Interior of Africa" published in 1799 as a basis for his story and so the interested reader can follow on a map the actual journey he made and the references to the people he met. Mungo Park was imprisoned by a Moorish chief at Ludamar for four months and in his account he says that Fatima the corpulent wife of his captor came to look upon him favourably. Boyle fictionalises this to tell of a woman that is force fed to become more attractive to men reaching such a size that she needs two servants to help her move around. She takes Park as her lover who delights in exploring the large landscapes of her body and by her favours he is able to fashion his escape.

This was Boyle's first novel published in 1981and he has gone on to enjoy an extremely successful career. Water Music with its extravagant historical fiction was a forerunner to more successful books. I enjoyed his reworking of history, bringing it to life with plenty of over the top, lustful and imaginative stories even though it felt a bit too much of a good thing. It had been on my book shelf for over twenty years and I was not sorry I took it down to read. Good but not really healthy entertainment 3.5 stars. ( )
2 vote baswood | Oct 29, 2020 |
T.C. Boyles erster Roman, Wassermusik, ist ein lustiger, schlüpfriger, äußerst unterhaltsamer Roman von phantasievoller und stilistischer Phantasie, der der Welt Boyles ungeheure Begabung als Geschichtenerzähler verkündete. Wassermusik den wilden Abenteuern von Ned Rise, einem Dieb und Hurenmeister, und Mungo Park, einem schottischen Entdecker, durch Londons düstere Gossen und Schottlands malerische Highlands zu ihrem großen Treffen im Herzen des dunkelsten Afrikas. Dort schließen sie sich zusammen und begeben sich auf ihren urkomischen Weg zur Quelle des Niger.

"Ribald, urkomisch, exotisch, fesselnder Flug der literarischen Phantasie."
--Los Angeles Times


"Wassermusik macht für die Fiktion das, was Raiders of the Lost Ark für den Film gemacht hat. . . . Boyle ist ein geschickter Verschwörer, ein verrückter Humorist und ein grimmiger Beschreiber. "
--Der Boston Globe

>"Hochkomische Fiktion... Boyle ist ein Schriftsteller mit beachtlichem Talent. Er bringt seine unglaubwürdigsten Erfindungen mit Witz, perfektem Timing und einer beachtlichen Sprachbegabung zu Papier."
--Die Washington Post
  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
Got about a quarter of the way through and it was just not grabbing me ( )
  Abbey_Harlow | Oct 5, 2017 |
Got about a quarter of the way through and it was just not grabbing me ( )
  abbeyhar | Nov 8, 2016 |
Water Music reminds me of a lot of my past reading. The Threepenny Opera, with a Hint of The Story of O. But more than anything it reminds me of Candide. Or rather Candide if it were written by Hunter S. Thompson, or, as luck would have it T. Coraghessen Boyle.

Water Music follows two men. Mungo Park is the first. He is a perfect imbecile with a seemingly endless supply of fool's luck and guiltless oblivion to the tragedy that inevitably befalls those with the poor judgement to allow their fates to become enterwined with his. Unfortunately for eneryone Mungo has his heart set on exploration and glory and 'discovering' the Niger River in Africa.

Ned Rise is the cosmic opposite of Mungo. From the day he was born nothing good comes to Ned without with him clawing, scraping and hustling for it. Any good that does come his way is invariably just some cruel joke setting him up for greater loss. And so Ned is a criminal and a con man, not out of any degeneracy, but because his wits and footwork are the only thing keeping him ahead of a universe that seems bent on purging itself of him.

The book takes a circuitous route through the two men's lives with interludes about a few key people in their lives. The literary Mandingo guide tasked with babysitting the idiot explorer. The fiance that spurns the advance of one idiot in favor of the bigger absent idiot. Ned's beautiful doomed love. A homicidal Moor. A sadistic poet. The course is unpredictable except for the inevitability of calamity for Ned and impossibly lucky breaks for Mungo.

And so I am reminded of The Threepenny Opera, The Story of O and most of all Candide. In Water Music life is not fair. Undeserving people get all the breaks and lack the self-awareness to know their privilege or what it costs others. Others seem cosmically ordained to suffer no matter what they do. It's best not to hope for a happy ending, but it is ok to enjoy the ride. Because while Water Music reminds me of many other books, it is better than any of them. It's a bitter pill, but you take it with a spoonful of sugar. ( )
  fundevogel | Oct 17, 2016 |
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The year is 1795: George III is dabbing the walls of Windsor castle with spittle, Goya is deaf, De Quincey is a depraved pubescent and young Ludwig van Beethoven is wowing them in Vienna with his second piano concerto.

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