Like most unbearably sad things, it seems incredibly elusive and complex in its causes and simple in its effect: on board the Nadir—especially at night, when all the ship’s structured fun and reassurances and gaiety-noise ceased—I felt despair. The word’s overused and banalified now, despair, but it’s a serious word, and I’m using it seriously. For me it denotes a simple admixture—a weird yearning for death combined with a crushing sense of my own smallness and futility that presents as a fear of death. It’s maybe close to what people call dread or angst. But it’s not these things, quite. It’s more like wanting to die in order to escape the unbearable feeling of becoming aware that I’m small and weak and selfish and going without any doubt at all to die. It’s wanting to jump overboard.
I have many quotes to share. Beautifully written, thought-provoking quotes. Clearly (such a cliche, but it's true), it's not the writer's fault, it's me. I really loved a couple of essays (amazing insights, beautiful language) but I simply couldn't connect with the rest of them. Again, I felt like a complete outsider, something that has happened to me before with other foreign writers. I may be gaining a couple of fervent enemies with this, but I really don't see the point in saying that I loved the whole book when I actually didn't.
So, those almost four stars were given according to what I felt while reading those particular essays (standing ovation to "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction"). They were THAT good.