Friday, October 19, 2007

Cruel Booker Breastfeeder

I see that Anne Enright has won the Booker prize. I have not read any of her novels but I have noticed her writing in the London Review of Books. I think the first of her articles to draw my attention must have been "My Milk" published in October 2000 just before I had my first baby, so I probably didn't get round to reading it until about Christmas that year. By which time the subject of the article, breastfeeding, had become an all-consuming way of life. There are lines in the article that I quite liked :
...what fun to be granted a new bodily function so late in life. As if you woke up one morning and could play the piano.

but I didn't really get the whole thing, the intellectualising of something that, for me at least, was like falling off a log. I loved breastfeeding: it wasn't painful, it wasn't a source of offense, and it certainly wasn't sexual.

More recently I read a diary column by Anne Enright on "Hating the McCanns". It is provocative and it is cruel — somebody wrote a letter to the LRB the following week saying that it made him hate Anne Enright — but it is also honest. I can't help thinking that I too have been irritated by the "wounded narcissism" and the "corporate-executive" speak that the McCanns sometimes project.

Has anyone read The Gathering?

7 comments:

Ms Mac said...

I haven't read The Gathering and because I've read that it's very bleak will probably not read it. I haven't read her thing about breastfeeding wither because people who wax lyrical about breastfeeding and how much joy/pain/whatever it gave them annoy me. But, I have read her piece about the McCanns and was struck by one particular quote that resonated very deeply with me. Interesting.

Lesley said...

Ms Mac: Am scanning the article to find THAT sentence.

Lucy said...

Yes, I enjoyed the McCanns piece, it isn't offensive in my reckoning, but I suppose it's still too close for comfort. Her intellectualising and analysis of language is a bit uncomfortable perhaps, or perhaps that's just me because I'm intimidated by the cleverbuggery of it. I also enjoyed the 'Listen to Heloise' piece, but then she didn't go on to say why and how we could listen to Heloise...
I didn't read the breastfeeding bit because once you've lived in
Totnes, you've had enough of that as an issue to last a lifetime.

Lucy said...

... oh, no I haven't read 'The Gathering'.

deborah said...

Could only get through half the article in LRB and found it totally and utterly distasteful ... then tried the breastfeeding one and got a quarter of the way through. So will give The Gathering a miss!

Was pleased the other day about Doris Lessing whose prose I get on better with.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should all read an extract from The Gathering before jumping to conclusions about it's so-called "bleakness".It's bracing :)

Here's a link to an excerpt:

http://books.guardian.co.uk/manbooker2007/0,,2192464,00.html

Charlotte said...

I'm definitely going to read The Gathering. It's on my Christmas list!