[Read] ➯ The Golden Gate By Vikram Seth – Autowiringdiagram.co

Quite possibly, this book is why I m married to the person I married.The novel presents a daunting challenge to readers, because it consists of sonnets 14 lines per, babe I recall that Seth doesn t adhere closely to iambic pentameter, which is fine there s a good tradition of poets being flexible with verse See Shakespeare, William This is a book of love and loss, friendship and loss, and San Francisco. Here s one of those Goodreads non reviews in which the author uses a Great Work of Literature as a platform to talk about himself Ready Here goes When I was a high school student in Palo Alto, I used to go to Printer s Ink Bookstore Cafe on California Ave to visit my friend Gregory, who had a job slinging coffee there Blah blah blah, personal anecdote et cetera The point is there were many regulars at this place One of them was Vikram Seth I believe he describes the coffee bar in one of the sonnets in this book I think I even watched him write part of The Golden Gate, although I didn t particularly notice or care at the time Some guy, drinking coffee, writing in a notebook that describes everybody in the place, myself included If you were a writer in Palo Alto, where else would you hang out I never met him, never even spoke to him His brother made a pass at a friend of mine, that s the best I can do I certainly had no idea he was writing this masterpiece, but when it came out I was a senior at Paly High At the time I was very much enjoying my membership in a little cult of high school literati who met once a week to read stories out loud to one another while enjoying non alcoholic beverages and jellied scones We all adored The Golden Gate The very idea that this amazing young poet had sanctified our home, our region, our era and so much of the culture of that time and place with his astonishingly limber verse why, it made us feel eventhe center of the universe than we would have already felt as high school intellectuals.It s funny how eras recede I read this in the eighties and felt it captured everything around us I read it again ten years later and it felt truly dated I flipped through it recently, and I see it as a great history of a great era in a great place A place that s kind of gone to hell since, IMHO, although San Francisco will always be San Francisco for those who can afford it My feelings for the Bay Area and my feelings for this book are somewhat at war with one another, but I ll spare you the carnage.It was considered ultra bold at the time still is, really to write a novel in verse To write verse at all, in fact much of the poetry world seems to have moved on from rhyme, just as they have from meaning But this book is poetry and prose at the same time, a thing that nobody seems to want to do, or believe is possible Or for whatever reason, it seems that the reading public, or at least the bookselling public, is dumbfounded at first by books that span categories But this is a great book just for widening the idea of what a book can be. The Great California Novel Been Written, In Verse And Why Not The Golden Gate Gives Great Joy Gore VidalOne Of The Most Highly Regarded Novels Of , Vikram Seth S Story In Verse Made Him A Literary Household Name In Both The United States And IndiaJohn Brown, A Successful Yuppie Living In S San Francisco Meets A Romantic Interest In Liz, After Placing A Personal Ad In The Newspaper From This Interaction, John Meets A Variety Of Characters, Each With Their Own Values And Ideas Of Self Actualization However, Liz Begins To Fall In Love With John S Best Friend, And John Realizes His Journey Of Self Discovery Has Only Just Begun A Splendid Achievement, Equally Convincing In Its Exhilaration And Its Sadness The New York Times Seth Pulls Off His Feat With Spirit, Grace And Great Energy The New YorkerA Marvelous Work Bold And Splendid Locate This Book And Allow Yourself To Become Caught Up, Like A Kite, In The Lifting Effects Of Seth S Sonnets Washington Post Book World Although this novel is written in verse, the reader almost forgets that fact after a while because in all other respects, this is just like any other novel with a well paced plot, varied cast of characters, plenty of dialogue and the usual suspense about who is going to hook up with who plus some wry commentary from the author about the challenges of writing in verse. I was expecting to enjoy this book, but even so it really knocked my socks off.Total times I missed my bus stop as a result of this book and had to walk home from Bosworth and Mission 2.Total times I have ever missed that bus stop 3.That will tell you how involved I got reading this book Seth is a charming writer The characters were fully fleshed out and interesting to read about, the places were very real as a Bay Area resident, it was very exciting to see places like the Cafe Trieste showing up and reading about traffic on 101 while being stuck in traffic on 101 was a great meta experience.This is on top of the conceit of the book, an epic poem told in fifteen chapters of approximately 50 sonnets each, all in iambic tetrameter Even the table of contents and author s biography were in sonnets, and it worked really well The form managed to encapsulate the time and place in a way it wouldn t have if it were merely a novel about people leading relatively unexciting lives in the bay area in the early 1980s It was an EPIC POEM about people doing the mundane in the 1980s Brilliant. I read A Suitable Boy years ago and loved it Because I did, I then read An Equal Music, which I liked a lot But knowing Seth s first novel, this one, was in verse, I put it off If I d remembered it, after reading its inspiration, Eugene Onegin, I may have read it sooner but at least the mention of ASB by a non GR friend got me to take this out of the library.It took a little while to get into the rhythm, so to speak, but once I did, it was smooth sailing I was even dreaming in rhymed sentences last night don t ask me what they were, though I was drawn in to the lives of the characters, the narrative voice Vikram himself , the story with its range of emotions but what I liked the most, I think, was its prevailing tone, which, even with its sometimes serious topics, is just plain fun Seth wrote this while working toward a PhD in the economic demography of China while at Stanford I wonder if he ever finished that And according to Wikipedia, he s working on a sequel to ASB called A Suitable Girl, to be published in 2013 I look forward to that, as I think Seth is brilliant. The main problem with Vikram Seth s exquisitely crafted verse novel about the personal lives of yuppies in the Bay Area of the 1980s is, well, the personal lives of yuppies They re just not that interesting Not even the most beautifully turned phrases, the most glowing imagery, can keep over 300 pages of rather shallow individuals and their quotidian concerns from occasionally dragging In fact, I think Seth did this intentionally, contrasting the the elevation of the poetry with the banality of everyday life And that was fascinating But there was kind of a lot of it, and even I, who grew up in San Francisco in the 1980s, sometimes found it a bit too tedious Especially the middle section, with its repetitive alternation between John and Liz quarreling over the ill behaved cat, and Ed and Paul fighting about the problem of Ed s religious scruples in their relationship But Seth usually manages to throw in an especially beautiful line or thought provoking idea just when the hebetude is getting too heavy to bear Here are a stanza and a half I particularly loved Again tonight the moon advances,A casual crescent, fine and high,A sort of innocent passerbyAcross the city of Saint Francis,Across the freeway, red and white,With last month s curvature and light.13.4Patron of your beloved city,O San Francisco, saint of love,Co sufferer in searing pityOf all our griefs, whom from aboveBirds would alight on, singing, feedingWithin your hands hands pierced and bleedingWith Christ s own signs who, stigmatizedAs dupe and clown, apostrophizedThe sun in its white blistering starknessAs brother, and the blistered moonAs sister, and who, blind at noon,Opened your heart and sang in darkness And where it was, sowed light, look down.Solace the sorrows of your town. It seems a bit crazy to read a book written wholly in sonnets, although not as crazy as choosing to write one At least that s what I thought when I stumbled on The Golden Gate in a charity shop I still felt it 10 pages in. this wasn t going to work for me A verse novel of the late twentieth century recording a few years in the life of yuppies in early 80s San Fran, all in soapy sonnets that range the gamete from humorous to tragic But this work, treading the fine line between madness and genius, draws you in Two days later I had gorged on its contents and was, even before the end, a blubbering mess There is such powerful depiction of loss, extraordinary within the confines of the structure, and it felt to me the kind of loss that calls out to the reader, hence ten minutes of OOC sobbing that did me much good.Don t get me wrong, there were some squelchy moments You want to enjoy the rhythm of the work, and you do, but then the rhythm missteps but this is a pretty small grievance you d have not to be A genius but The genius to pull this off with flawless rhythm and rhyme The vacuity of modern life, too, seems a strange subject matter for Petrarchan sonnets but, running alongside powerful and diverse subject matter as it does, it works So much of life is vacuous, after all Seth explores the nature of love, loss, grief and its attendant emotions, bisexuality, creativity, bigotry, urban isolation, corporate greed, belief systems and muchI personally loved the powerful pro environment sermon sited in the very heart of the work, reflecting as it does the central themes of care and compassion It is also a good advertisement for San Francisco itself The districts and seasons of the city are captured beautifully and as the title suggests these Petrarchan sonnets, named after a love sick poet, are part of a love letter to Frisco itself It s been 12 years since I visited as this unique novel also works phenomenally as a memento mori it may just lead me to book a return journey soon The Golden Gate is, itself, redemptive. Completely unique book, as far as I know the only major verse novel written in English during the last 100 years The life and loves of a bunch of 80s yuppies in Silicon Valley, told in Petrarchan sonnets It should be a catastrophe, but in fact it s a brilliant success funny, romantic, tragic, witty, you name it To make a startswift than weighty Hail Muse Dear Reader, once upon A time, say, circa 1980, There lived a man His name was John So I was telling Bram yesterday that, as far as I was concerned, the real translation of Eugene Onegin into English was The Golden Gate It was just a theory I made up on the spur of the moment I know The Golden Gate very well, I read Pushkin once, and it was clear there were some commonalities I love The Golden Gate, and translations of Pushkin have always left me cold, particularly the Nabokov one.This afternoon, I was standing in the line at Cambridge train station, when I noticed that the person behind me was a friend who s a Professor of Russian Literature I said I was sure she had an opinion on Nabokov s translation of Pushkin She wasn t that keen on it she said it was incredibly accurate, and the commentary was brilliant , but it still left her feeling disappointed Then, without any prompting whatsoever from me, she went on to recommend reading Vikram Seth s book, which she said was virtually a transposition to American English and 80s California Same number of chapters, close correspondences between people and motifs, many explicit references.Well It s the closest I ve ever got to the scene in Annie Hall, where Woody Allen suddenly produces Marshall McLuhan to support his argument What are the odds against that happening 3 October 2013I m finished Now to write some sonnetsFor a review I hope you ll like.No mean feat, so give me time on it It s not like riding on a bike Perhaps I ll post something by Sunday Which means you ll have to wait til MondayOr Tuesday instead, or later Call me King Procrastinator And if you think this plan improper,You have my sad regrets, so chooseInstead to read other reviews.My muse, although I tried to stop her,Demanded this I must appease Now, back to that review I teasedSeptember 2014My muse looks bored I ve not impress d her.Oh, shit How did a year go by These half done verses won t int rest her Should I go on I can t see whyFor I don t know how she can be wooed It s been far too long since I reviewed Dare I disturb the universe Asked Eliot in better verse Then Hey, Miriam, your help, I plead I swear to finish this review October 10th is when it s due Or you can assign me books to read.The worst you know And with that treat Or threat in place, here is, complete 1 5 October 2014THE GOLDEN GATE A REVIEW IN VERSE With apologies to the manWho wrote the book Please, sir, do not purseYour lips so Yours is better thanMy sad attempt, and much bigger, tooNo, not that I don t mean okay, youProbably dominate there as wellNo need to show no need to tell.I meant your many sonnets, whereasMy paltry handful shut up looksLike a weak joke next to your book Imitationflattery, that jazzBut I digress Sorry, Vikram.Now, where were we Oh, yes Ahem 1.Good Readers, I have such a hard onOh, sorry, was that TMI How crude of me I beg your pardon,But won t you let me explain why See, the man who wrote that book of weightA Suitable Boy, Mr V Seth, 2 First wrote this one, called The GoldenGate, in which he is beholden By a certain rhyme scheme, self imposed, That is, a B a B c c D D e F F e G G To write in sonnets instead of prose A verse novel Impressive stuff.And now you know what has me chuffed.2 A verse novel What could have been saidIn a sentence or two just tookFourteen lines of awkward verse instead.But that s what Seth did in his book For three hundred pages, andthanSix hundred stanzas Salute that man I did If you know what I mean But I should strive to keep this clean,Lest some user lets a freak FLAG flyAnd I guess I d better drop itBefore they scold You re off topicSEES ALL wave and say hi Police reviews Oh, they ll try t Readers, go RELEASE THE HYDRA 3.If that last sonnet seems outdated,My bad I cannot tell a lie I wrote it, then procrastinated,As weeks months then a year went by,And here we are But there you have it Procrastination is my habit Please bear with me I ll use that wordOft n awkwardly here absurd,I know, it s too polysyllabic And since then I ve reviewed little I my books, Nero his fiddle ,But the thing that cuts me to the quick Twelve months these paltry verses took It s time to talk about the book.4.But first, a better explanation,In case Verse 1 is still unclear No, not my wink standing ovation Which probably did not endearMe to youbut I digress the verseSeth writes in, and which I write in worse,Is Onegin 3 in form, so namedAfter that book Pushkin is famed For, Eugene O Which I ve not read yet Seth s called louder Check the WikiPage for , because this sicklyVerse o mine is all I fear you ll get.Don t look at me so gloomily Perhaps you d like a summary 4 5 To make a startswift than weighty,Hail Muse Dear Reader, once uponA time, say, circa 1980,There lived a man His name was John, 5 Our book begins Our John is onlyTwenty six, fit, well employed Lonely, A thrown Frisbee makes him heart sick For me, twas reading Moby Dick He seeks some kind advice from Janet A friend and ex , who swift suppliesThe sage suggestion, Advertise In spite of his command to Can it ,She posts in secret, vets replies,Sends him duds, til at last he tries6.A last ditch date with ElizabethDorati, lovely legal droneWith a love life equally bereft.They meet they match they make sweet moan And since he agrees it s sickeningAnd not conducive to quickeningIn certain organs the heart , SethKindly skips over each petiteMort 6 they die, to hie us south, to sadAnd gloomy Phil old friend of John ,A single dad to Paul, his son.His job was lifeless his marriage bad His wife left him and went back east,He left his job to work for peace.7.Then, at a party John and Liz throw,Phil meets her younger brother, Ed.They chat a little, until helloPhil takes him home, and then to bed.But Ed s less closeted than cloisteredAnd can t take that world for his oyster.Unmoving faith, unstopping love What do these forces have to prove But keep one or both Ed doesn t dare.John and Liz may have lovers pains Like John s great war with Charlemagne But can their small squabbles quite compareTo a love triangle this odd, With Ed torn between Phil and God 8.Okay, it s not that devoid of hope.Nor pure melodrama Trust me.And don t dismiss this as Yuppie SoapOpera, all white and sudsy.But round the Liz John, Phil Ed bubblesDrift flotsam, jetsam, worries, troubles A grumpy cat, an ag d mom,A protest march against The Bomb No to Nukes they cry, and Save the earth So, though Seth s tale in verse might lookPuny next to his larger book,It packs in punch what it lacks in girth.Why not let him work his magic Warning, though there is a tragic 9.I ll stop here so it isn t spoiled No pitchfork d mob shall have my head And anyway, I think I ve toiledEnough on this review you read.Truth is, I hope only to succeedIn making this the next book you read Now while Goodreads votes aren t scary,I m beginning to feel waryOf the attention this might earn me.I may have had my fun with this,But I would still be quite remissIf I don t put my foot down firmly I don t care if the likes rush in I m not doing this for Pushkin. 7 10.One last thing before I say finis If I ve offended you, my friends,Do I, I wonder, have it in me That s what she said to make amends The first lines I wrote for this review My appeal to Seth Verse 1 Verse 2 Are much cruder than the others.Although, if I had my druthers, They d be tongue or something else in cheekAs well But since those verses lackThat bawdiness, fear of attackLeads me to say, since I m feeling meek If I lost your admirationSorry for the cock fixation Endnotes 1 And look, I finished with five days left 2 Did you know his name sounds like Sate Till just last week that said book of heft I should have rhymed with Golden Gate. 3 And I wracked my brain o er Onegin, Til Seth whispered Pssst Sounds like ReaganGood thing I di n t try t rhyme it 4 I know, I know, that rhyme was shit 5 Just quote whole verses Oh sure, why not 6 When I thought Seth was pronounced Seth, I used the English, little death But with petite It was worth a shot 7 News from the Bullshit Desk JUST IN Fine I might do this for Pushkin