Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Long And The Short Of It

Last weekend, we surprised the wife with a baby shower. Family and friends were all extremely generous - I've never seen so many presents in my life - and Jenna spent the better part of four hours just opening everything. Thanks again to everyone!

One of the more interesting gifts was a copy of War and Peace. I thought it was a pretty cool gift, being something Baby Girl O'Rourke wouldn't use until she's a bit older.

War and Peace is notorious for its length. Rick Reilly, famous sports writer, once described how far John Daley hit a golf ball by saying, "He's longer than Tolstoy." I have yet to read WaP, but I did enjoy Anna Karenina, which itself is not short by any means.

Anyway, I found a wiki link to the world's longest novels and was amazed to find this. Marienbad My Love, a self-published work, spans over 17 million words. I will never even attempt to read this book, but here's the blurb for it:

Coppell, TX - Texas writer Mark Leach has published an expanded edition of "Marienbad My Love," the world's longest novel, that tops 17 million words and also sets new records for the world's longest word, sentence and book title.

The Coppell, Texas, writer has been making a run at the record books with his still-growing story of a Christ-haunted filmmaker who believes he is called on by God to bring about the end of the world by producing a science fiction-themed pastiche of the 1961 French New Wave classic, “Last Year at Marienbad.”


And here I thought my book, The Unearthed, was a bit long-winded at 80,000 words!

16 comments:

seana said...

Hey, hope you both had a lovely time at the shower! The due date must be closer than I was remembering it to be!

War and Peace is not a shower gift that would have occurred to me, but I approve. Read it long ago, and wasn't much taken with Tolstoy's theory of history but the rest is wonderful.

Might want to start Baby Girl O'Rourke on something just a bit simpler, though I'm sure she'll be up to the challenge in no time.

I remember reading a Harper's essay on the super long novel by John Barth in Harper's. A little research just now led me to find that it was in the July 1990 issue, which you might not be able to access on line unless you're a subscriber, or have your own ways. But it talks about some super long Indian novel which maybe this Texas guy has now surpassed.

I love long novels, but I think this is beyond me...

Jenna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenna said...

Seana - Thank you, we did have a lovely time! No, the due date is still December 31. I think the earliness of the shower was for a few reasons... with the holidays of November and December, my Mom was concerned that guests would have a lot of commitments and perhaps not able to attend if it were later. Also, the dog trainer we've been utilizing for Gracie recommended that we have as much of the baby stuff around as early as possible. She said it is best to get the doggies used to all the new items that are invading their lives and space before the baby arrives.

I can say that the tons of items that have come into the house have yet to phase Bear. If I have to wrestle one more hanging stuffed toy that places music and is meant to hang from the car seat or stroller, from Gracie's jaws, I might just lose my mind!

Yes, the crowd reaction to the opening on War & Peace was interesting and in fact, the gift giver had left by the time I was opening her bag of goodies. Mostly quizzical looks, but perhaps I'm meant to read it aloud at this point, while Baby Girl O'Rourke is still in utero. I guess in my spare time, which at this point is mainly spent falling asleep on the sofa if I'm not laundering, working, or getting the baby's room ready.

seana said...

A New Year's baby then--how cool!

My impression of Bear is that he(?) is unflappable. Maybe War and Peace was meant for him.

marco said...

You should try to hold on until January 1. Kids born that late in the year tend to feel that they're younger than their classmates and try to overcompensate in order to be taken seriously.

Nathanael Green said...

And I thought The Stand was a long slog!

Brian O'Rourke said...

Seana,

Yeah, unflappable may be the best word to describe Bear. Nothing really bothers him, except Gracie who plays the Hyde to his Jekyl.

v word: unione. "one-one"?

Brian O'Rourke said...

Marco

Come on, man, is there really a difference between being born 12/31 and 1/1?

I mean, aside from the awesome tax break we'd get if Baby Girl arrived 12/31?

(No pressure dear)

Brian O'Rourke said...

Nate,

How far along are you now in The Stand? I recall you were reading it awhile back.

I just don't know how any plot could justify a length of 17 million words. I wonder if all the Star Wars novels combined would be that long. I doubt it.

marco said...

My cousin has been plagued all his life by the fact he was born on December 28. Always the little one, mercilessly teased at school, etc.
Ok, not really.

Brian O'Rourke said...

Marco -

I'm not one to complain, but my birthday is Jan 3rd, so people frequently double-dipped: "Here's your Christmas and your birthday present."

But Nate suffered the same fate I think, so I should shut up.

seana said...

You both seem to have turned out okay, though...

marco said...

Yeah, because they were born in January, not December...

Nathanael Green said...

I feel your pain, Brian. Myself, I was born between Christmas and New Year's and overshadowed by both!

Though, I guess it could be worse: my cousin was born on December 25.

As for Baby Girl O'Rourke, if she's not born until 2010, that just means you get a tax write-off for 2028 instead of 2009, right?

(Assuming the world doesn't end in 2012.)

Brian O'Rourke said...

Nate,

Your cousin was Jesus? Why didn't you ever say anything?

Nathanael Green said...

I just always felt inadequate, so I didn't bring it up. I mean, making beer is cool and all, but it's not exactly water to wine.