Journey to the West, unabridged in three volumes. It's just so much fun. A Monk, a pig, a monkey, and friar sand travel to fetch the scriptures. What's not to like?
Monkey, pig and friar sand are immortals, too. They'll all be wandering through a forest one minute, and then monkey will do a somersault and be at the bottom of the sea, talking to a dragon, or maybe go to heaven and act like a jerk. You never know what you're going to get.
A flood of high poetic imagery, like an overdose of nature, seasons, flowers, trees, animals, mountains, jade, pearl, clouds, phoenixes... it's decadent. And plenty of surreal surprises...
It can be read as extremely silly stories and as a pretty powerful symbolic alchemical text at the same time, the whole time. Lots of humor, satire. Insightful. Everything's sacred/nothing's sacred. The characters' personalities are sharp. The narrator breaks the fourth wall.
But my favorite part about it is the way it turns conventional narrative on its head. A plot develops over the course of a chapter or two, tension sort of builds, and then it all falls apart anti-climatically. And then they just move on as if nothing happened.
I read a little bit every day, savoring it.
Somehow I ended up on this Alfred Jarry kick recently. He's alright. I'm on the 'Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll' at the moment. I'm enjoying how the 'story' is just the thinnest pretext of a plot that doesn't hold up at all, not even slightly, and doesn't even try to. It's like the story is aware, and fighting against itself. I like Jarry's sense of humor.
Picasso's play 'The Four Little Girls.' The way the dialogue flows, my goodness. I don't care what anyone says, I think it's the greatest thing around. I don't know what else to say about it. I don't really want to say anything, anyway. But I am just bowled over by it.
Both his words and manner of speech seemed at first totally unfamiliar to me, and yet somehow they stirred memories - as an actor might be stirred by the forgotten lines of some role he had played far away and long ago.