Tuesday, March 2, 2010

On Hypochondria

Elizabeth Bachner over at Bookslut always writes such insightful book reviews and articles. Here's an excerpt from her review of The Hypochondriacs: Nine Tormented Lives by Brian Dillon:

Everyone makes a big deal about the trials of making great art or having scientific breakthroughs, but my guess is that basic ordinary daily life is much worse, much harder than writing A la recherche du temps perdu or The Origin of Species. You can finish a book, however agonizingly, but you can never finish the daily processes of the body, the eating and the shitting, the sloughing off dead skin. Once you finish, you have to do it all over again. And even if you find a way to make it all about pleasure -- even if you eat Laduree lemon macaroons and put glitter on your silky arms wear cashmere and have dirty sex with craggy Irishmen and get caked with Dead Sea mud and schvitz at the Blue Lagoon Spa in Iceland -- you still have to do it, the shitting and eating and cleaning yourself part, again and again. You can never finish the fucking thing and start a new book. And, from your first moments, you're decaying. You're dying, and so are the people you love and want. It's ephemeral, dangerous, unfair. It's not surprising that this rankles bright people.

Dillon's book also examines the hypochondria of Charlotte Bronte. I'm adding it to my wishlist now.

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