Damn it, I’m halfway through John Hawkes’s 1951 “surrealistic Western,” The Beelte Leg,” and I’m wondering if instead I should put it down and start reading something easier , like oh say “The Wasteland” backwards (in the dark of course, under the covers with a flashlight illuminated on every other word). At first the novel reads like “No Country for Old Men” (you know, a Western, sparse, a sheriff)–but then promptly digresses (that must be the surralism kicking in). Right now I’m taking heart from an Amazon commenter: “This is a surrealistic western, basically, with language so odd, crisp, and surprising that every page has to be savored. Hawkes is a tremendously perceptive writer, whether he’s dealing with the violent or the mundane. Readers should give this and THE BLOOD ORANGES a chance. His voice is strange, and takes time to grow on you; but once it does, his books begin to seem like a mixture of poetry and noir…”
(Note: Hawkes’s “Travesty” is a much more accesible novel if you don’t feel up to “The Beetle Leg” or “Blood Oranges.”)
Update: Hey I think I have this thing in perspective now: I’m using Mindjet’s Mind Manager, mapping the thing, lassoing the intricacies, ballooning them, tagging the parts, dividing the past and present (or the present and the ghostly)…wish me luck.