This being only my third indulgence into the literary work of WTV it is painfully obvious to me that he isn’t an easy read. Previously a foolish premonition on my behalf perhaps, due often to his brief sentences and short paragraphs. But Vollmann makes me rather uncomfortable. And I can’t say my reading of him is “fun”. That is not to say it could be, one day, after I get past his own particular “difference” on the page. Simply put, Vollmann performs his craft in such a way as to make me see it just might be possible. Hearing others and discerning between these many voices, and then considering the foreign ideas presented in a devised, but parallel existence of deviance, can only do me some good. Perhaps my emerging tolerance for all the different sizes, colors, shapes, and smells I find in the world around me is due to this enlarging present feeling of acceptance I have evolved to not only for myself and my own differences but for the other strange ones among us. …Something touched him. He didn’t know what it was. It was fishy and silverwhite and crew-cut soft like sealskin kamiks…
The dude can obviously write when he wants to. My complaint is he does not care enough for what I need to tender more abundant examples of great sentences. The “whore trilogy” is a supersaturation of all things that drip of sweat, disease, stink, and slime. Of course, there is in his characters a constant need for love and then their roiling indifference as it pertains to others. If this review makes no sense and seems haphazard and wanting to flit, try reading the Butterfly Stories
. The title says it all. It always felt as if Vollmann was keeping me away at arm’s length. No intimacy or connection with anyone, and of course no one ever fitting in. Not knowing if this novel was truly a love story or a death wish realized, but understanding all along that we, as in my heart and mind, are never coming back.