Holy Lord and God! I know man’s labor must be one of those deals figured out by Providence that saves him by preserving him, or he would be hungry, he would freeze, or his brittle neck would be broke. But what curious and strange forms he ends up surviving in, becoming them in the process.
During the course of his adventures, Augie makes stops in Canada, Mexico, Paris, and in those places he gets involved in human trafficking, protests, and war. Not to mention he gets kicked in the head by a horse. Not to mention a lot of people tell him about their problems.
With all the picaresque fun spanning Bellow’s huge book, it’s easy to lose sight of all the moving pieces. That makes it a perfect candidate for a PWxyz Pie™. What pie is it? Why, a Chicago deep dish pizza pie, of course. As if you even had to ask.
Still hungry? Check out previous literary pie charts for Underworld, Madame Bovary, Crime and Punishment, The Metamorphosis, Ulysses, 2666, and Beckett’s Trilogy.
Then I went back into the house and wrote, It is midnight. The rain is beating on the windows. It was not midnight. It was not raining.
We’ve been at this literary pie chart thing for awhile now (other pie charts: Underworld, Madame Bovary, Crime and Punishment, The Metamorphosis, Ulysses, and 2666), but making a pie out of Samuel Beckett’s Trilogy is the most challenging yet. Modernist Cuisine challenging. So, in order to do justice to the writer’s masterwork, we special-ordered an emulsifier and a blowtorch. And though we stunk up the PWxyz kitchen during our many failed attempts using logic, reason, and hope, just when we thought we couldn’t go on, we went on.
Here’s our steaming Melton Mowbray pork pie, an ode to the hatchet/bludgeon work of Lemuel, Molloy, and Jacques.
*Other ways to put this: proposition/negation; function/inverse function; considering/reconsidering
…Guerrero, at that time of night, is more like a cemetery than an avenue, not a cemetery in 1974 or in 1968, or in 1975, but a cemetery in the year 2666, a forgotten cemetery under the eyelid of a corpse or an unborn child, bathed in the dispassionate fluids of an eye that tried so hard to forget one particular thing that it ended up forgetting everything else.
So you read 2666. You probably have questions. Such as:
1. What’s with all the dreams?
2. What exactly is Archimboldi doing in Mexico?
3. What is happening?
4. I’m tired.
The problem with asking any of those questions is you won’t find the answers in 2666, a world-eating novel where looking for an answer just leads to more questions. In his notes, Bolaño mentions a “hidden center” concealed beneath the novel’s “physical center.” And while we can’t tell you what the hidden center is of 2666, we can tell you that the hidden center of PWxyz’s 2666 pie chart is delicious and gooey, not unlike Barry Seaman’s recipe for Brussels sprouts with lemon (luckily we spared you the idea of “Brussels sprouts with lemon pie” and made this a tasty lemon meringue pie).
After you’re done savoring our 2666 pie, check out our other literary pie charts: Underworld, Madame Bovary, Crime and Punishment, The Metamorphosis, and Ulysses.
Here’s a steaming, segmented pie chart for Joyce’s steaming, segmented masterpiece. If you’re keeping track, we’ve already baked pies for Underworld (shepherd’s pie), Madame Bovary (strawberry rhubarb), Crime and Punishment (mince), and The Metamorphosis (apple).
As always, we bake our PWxyz pies fresh and leave them out on our windowsill for your olfactory enjoyment, before digging into that fresh Gorgonzola and mustard pie. As a bonus, we’ve made a second mini pie, because, let’s be honest, Ulysses probably could have about 10 pies.
*Here’s a sub-pie chart for Ulysses’ references.
There are approximately 176,311 ways to interpret Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Of that number, there are in-depth lectures from people like Vladimir Nabokov and then there are pie charts from people like PWxyz. For maximum effect, we recommend both Nabokov and pie, but if you have to cut out one, well, we both know which one gets the boot.
Enjoy the Kafka pie below (previous pies: Crime and Punishment, Madame Bovary, Underworld) while maybe listening to rock band Gregor Samsa.
If you were some kind of wise guy, you could pie chart Crime and Punishment like this: 95% punishment, and 5% crime. But PWxyz takes pie charts seriously, and we didn’t spend all that money on all this hi-tech pie-making equipment just to mail our pies in. We carefully craft our pies (previously, Underworld pie and Madame Bovary pie) with the finest ingredients.
Raskolnikov said: “The fear of aesthetics is the first symptom of powerlessness.” Well, then we are powerless, Mr. Raskolnikov, for we care about aesthetics. Ah, put down that axe!
Do you hear that? That bubbling sound? That’s just the row of many beakers bubbling that PWxyz uses to break down and calculate the exact component parts of famous literary works, which we in turn share with you in the form of a pie chart. Think of them as a much cleaner version of a cow’s stomach. That produces pie. Anyway, today’s pie breakdown is Madame Bovary (aka Madame Bovary: A Tale of Provincial Life, Provincial Manners, Provincial Lives, Patterns of Provincial Life, and Provincial Manners of a Patterned Life), not to be confused with Madman Bovary. Interesting fact: if Madame Bovary were a real pie, it’d be strawberry rhubarb pie. It’s true.
Previously we pie-charted Don DeLillo’s Underworld, which was sort of a shepherd’s pie.
A bit of Friday fun: a pie chart!
Underworld is the story of Kate Beckinsale battling vampires and werewolves in black leather. If you ask me, Rise of the Lycans was sorely lacking–
Whoops, sorry about that. Let’s start over.
Don DeLillo’s Underworld is 827 pages, with intersecting voices, the weight of half a century’s history, and baseball. It can be hard to keep track of. That’s why we’ve made this handy chart to keep close by as you wade through. Percentages are exact, and are the product of three months’ experiments in the PWxyz bunker, far below ground in a place no one’s ever heard of.
Happy weekend, everyone!