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Saturday, August 02, 2008


Funny when you read something that triggers something else, like the way the Fat man of Lydia Millet's Everyone's Pretty is so much like the Fat man in Will Self's My Idea of Fun, which both are reminiscent of John Kennedy Toole's Ignatius in A Confederacy of Dunces.

Certainly it raises questions, one in particular being, are writers this influenced by what they read? I believe so.

The latest I've come across is best shown by example. Here's the celebrated opening to T.C. Boyle's Water Music:

At an age where most young Scotsmen were lifting skirts, plowing furrows and spreading seed, Mungo Park was displaying his bare buttocks to al-haj' Ali Ibn Fatoudi, Emir of Ludamar.

Now compare the passage to this line from Truman Capote's Answered Prayers:

"P.B. Jones? That tramp. No doubt he's peddling his ass to elderly Arab buggers in the souks of Marrakech"

I'll leave it up to readers to make their own decision on this one.