I enjoyed reading Am Fluß, but why, a few chapters in, did I start responding to it with the kind of aspirational envy one associates with social media?
The book is about a woman who spends her life walking around the margins of cities and having complex thoughts. Family is alluded to; in one chapter she looks for a job, though it ends up being more an allegory than anything else. She has some happenstance meetings. Otherwise it's pretty much all elective solitude.
The depth of the prose, and the implicit relation it bears to all this idle time, is what makes it seem like walking around and having thoughts is now a luxury good.
@vance_maverick Flâneuring nostalgia is definitely part of it! I don't get the same feeling from 1920s lit because the support structure is at least more visible. We know that Clarissa is upper-class, Bloom isn't but we see how a walking-around style fits his workday. In this book the supports of life must exist somehow, but they're almost all cropped out of the picture; and that's the part that reminds me, of all things, of Instagram curation.
@vance_maverick You should read! It’s a good novel and I would believe my reaction is more a fact about me than a fact about the book.
@pauline will do -- I see my library has it only in translation. I'm thinking now of Iain Sinclair, who flânes opinionatedly around London in a way that's plausible for a boomer welfare-stater
Basic models of flocking behavior are controlled by three simple rules: 1) separation: avoid crowding neighbours (short range repulsion); 2) alignment: steer towards average heading of neighbors; 3) cohesion: steer towards average position of neighbors (long range attraction). With these three simple rules, the flock moves in an extremely realistic way.
@pauline I have a pretty high tolerance for this kind of showing off or idealization of personal experience in literature -- there can be a valuably aspirational side to it -- but I can believe there's a cusp beyond which it amounts to solicitation of envy. Must read