A Necessary Review Of Morrissey's Mind-Bendingly Bad Novel, List Of The Lost - Balls.ie

Discussion in 'General Discussion archive 2018 (read-only)' started by Famous when dead, Jun 12, 2018.

By Famous when dead on Jun 12, 2018 at 3:38 PM
  1. Famous when dead

    Famous when dead Vulgarian

    Dec 7, 2000
    Birmingham, U.K.
    On the most recent edition of The Reducer, we branched out beyond our football remit to encompass List of the Lost, Morrissey's shockingly putrid novel. (Yes, that Morrissey). Co-host Seamas O'Reilly enjoys a lonely reign as a kind of Morrissey Fiction Laureate, having previously written a review of the novel that was longer than his college dissertation. With his benevolent permission, we are reproducing that review in full below. The review was first published in October 2015 on his personal website Shocko.info.

    "In common with every other gangly, box-limbed dork with a library card, my adolescence was defined by these kinds of notions. This time of my life was underscored by a steady click-track of mortifying pretension, and memories of all this pomposity and sexual frustration kept flooding back as I read Morrissey’s List of the Lost. Firstly, because the book is about a group of teenage friends but also, sadly, because this novel is so cosmically off-putting and pretentious that even my fifteen-year-old self would have balked at its contents.

    Like everyone else, I read the reviews and thought, at the very least, this would be an interesting read. This was not the case. But I should admit that some of the mentions it received were so savage, I half-thought there had been a healthy degree of needless exaggeration. It was with this small hope that I read the one review that wasn’t fully negative. It was on the back of the book."

    A 47 minute podcast discussing it is also included - here's a direct link:
    Episode 20 - Morrissey's Novel, List of the Lost.

    A very long deconstruction/article of LOTL and similar audio of said:

    Not sure why this appeared today after almost 3 years since release though?
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    1. Eldritch
      Because s as a novel, it's so overwhelmingly and bizarrely bad, that it is becoming some kind of cult classic? It's like the book equivalent of Plan 9 From Outer Space. Reading it you see how the tightness of the pop song structure saves Morrissey from his excesses and forces him to put his thoughts into few short lines. In a novel there are no boundaries, and Christ it shows. It is almost with a sense of wonder that one approaches such a totally useless novel from otherwise such a talented author.
      • Interesting Interesting x 2
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    2. Peppermint
      Long but worth it. Absolutely stellar. If they gave awards for reviews, this would sweep the board. Not only is it bloody funny but he nails every single issue ruthlessly. So many gems but I especially liked:
      'When forced, Morrissey does describe the female form, albeit in a manner which suggests that even calling to mind the broadest outline of a woman gives him food poisoning.'

      And his summing up is terrific:
      'Look, this book is not bad because it’s a bit pretentious or slightly wanky, or merely a bit weird on matters of relationships or sex, or even just because it’s filled with hundreds of unprompted lectures about Morrissey’s hobby horse subjects... mainly, it’s bad because it is genuinely near-unreadable. In real terms. In every sense.'

      Take a bow, Mr O'Reilly.
      • Funny Funny x 2
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    3. Eldritch
      Oh dear. I read the thing and I can't stop laughing. And I did buy and read List Of The List when it came out, so I have definitely deserved this article.
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    4. lanterns
      not quite sure what he means with 'near-unreadable', i found it partly difficult to read as i'm not a native english speaker and had to look up quite a lot of words, but enjoyed reading it twice.
      here is one of the best essays i've ever read, by Jonathan Franzen, about what is perceived as "hard-to-read" literature and how he as a writer deals with the anger of readers who believe there is a universal obligation for writers to produce "an easy read".
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    5. Anonymous
      Of course it's unreadable. Why do you think they had to cancel the audiobook?
    6. Uncleskinny
      This reminds me of that spectacular occasion when our resident wasp-brain, Vegan, announced that the book was an immediate classic, a masterpiece, and he was given a copy by Jesse. So I asked him what was the first word on a particular page. And he couldn't say.

      Happy days.
      • Troll Troll x 4
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    7. Anonymous
      LOL. Come on Skinny, do tell us the great novels you have read, should only take a minute. I suspect. :confused: Forget Soros bio, it doesn’t count. And don’t forget to mention the Penguin Classic bio that was best selling music bio EVER. But then you only feel alive with negativity :sick: flat caps, flat beer and flat minds aka SKINNY :thumb: ps stop stalking Morrissey ex and current band mates it looks desperate. #FreeUncleSkinny
    8. Eldritch
      I have read Gaddis and Gass and I love David Foster Wallace, all difficult but ultimately rewarding authors, but List Of The Lost is often "almost confrontially meaningless" like O'Reilly brilliantly put it. Glad that you liked the book, but ask yourself, would you ever got past the second page if it wasn't written by Morrissey.
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    9. Peppermint
      But Lanterns, the reason it's hard to read is not because it's erudite, but because it's really terrible writing: linguistically, grammatically, the plot, characters, dialogue and narrative - they are all nonsensical. The review is poking fun but it does also take it apart quite factually and it explains, much better than I could, exactly why it's so bad. I know there's such a thing as subjectivity but there's also such a thing as the consensus view. Glad you enjoyed it though, it's pretty impressive that you read it at all as a non-native speaker, never mind twice.
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    10. Peppermint
      Interestingly, I spotted this curious bit of recycling among the excerpts of text quoted:
      ‘The club valet, named Chesty Normous, was most forthcoming and handed Isaac a set of car keys, and the flashy Maserati swirled from kerbside and home to the cosy ecstasy of Isaac’s inner climate, where all of his dreams were perfectly legal …’
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    11. Eldritch
      Yep. I noticed that too. And I actually like Spent The Day In Bed a lot both musically and lyrically. This shows the difference between Morrissey the novelist and Morrissey the pop lyric writer.
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    12. Eldritch
      "Chesty Normous". Bloody hell.
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    13. Peppermint
      Yes, your point about how the restrictions of the 3-minute pop song have saved him (or, more uncharitably, masked his shortcomings) are on the nail. And FWIW, I like Spent as well - I think it's a decent pop song, as long as you can overlook the childlike world view and slightly insulting 'enslaved workers' (and I can, juuuust about).
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    14. Peppermint
      I know. And there are worse: Judy Garbage, Wilma Dickfit and Connie Lingus. o_O I can only think he's confused these clunking 'puns' with hilarious wordplay because the band laugh dutifully when he drops them into conversation after a pint of vodka.
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    15. vegan.cro spirit# 765
      vegan.cro spirit# 765
      If there is one thing we learn from this piece: dont drink liquor and write.:tears:
      What a catastrophe:oops:
    16. gordyboy9
      chesty normous,sounds like something Talbot Rothwell would have wrote.
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    17. Anonymous
      Thank you Seamas, I'd had only read excerpts, and decided I didn't have time for such a, ah, erm, er, novel. That and the fact Morrissey said it wasn't actually for us (he did.)Your review has finished convincing me. It's a "balls to that!" from me too, then.

      The "frigid energy"... Yes, exactly! We've felt that. Many, many times, Seamas. But I had no idea you guys had fort Boyard as well! Do you also get the old bearded guy that gives candidates risible riddles?

      I was given a key
      And was given a book
      I rarely sing off-key
      But I'm always a crook.
      Who on earth could I possibly be?


      I'm somewhere on the spectrum
      between village idiot and scum
      People say I'm artistic
      But I am mostly autistic.
      And I often fancy a bum.
      Any wild guess 'bout my identity?

      I think contempt might be indeed what defines the book. Self-contempt or contempt of the literary world? Or the whole human race? You be the judge. Maybe getting a Penguin Classic book deal with a crappy book was his own back-handed way of shitting on his librarian mother (who must have been really proud, nonetheless.) You never know. But it all looked so ott. And odd. Though, admittingly, the straight out of preschool editor was a hilarious touch. Or maybe, he's just a bit touched.

      It's interesting you think Eliza is the most poorly written character. Whoever inspired her must run like a girl or something. And here, we remember people with whom Morrissey almost had a baby...

      Can you imagine the way he would have described babies ?

      Strictly between us Seamas, I think the most horrifying version of adolescence is possibly Morrissey himself, forever massaging his gay gone wrong ego in the shimmering shower of his omnipotent impotence in the changing rooms of chchchchchanges where the strange is never faced , as I imagine Damon would encourage the author to sum up.

      Hey it would have been mildly amusing had it been a very very elaborate prank, but it's more and more obvious that the man takes himself very very seriously and anyway, his supposed self deprecation was last seen in 1958 in a caravan in Norwich ...so I think we can rule that out.

      Looks like decrepitude, on the other hand, is here to stay. :lbf:

    18. DrStatham
      The problem is that it's so bad and unreadable it isn't even 'so bad it's good'. It's literally gone past even that, it's just so bad it's bad. Except 'Wilma Dickfit'.... That is so bad it's actually funny.
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    19. Peppermint
      I had to look him up, but yes! :thumb:

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