The writer who was mistaken for Stephen King -
Emily Schultz, The Composites’ in-house researcher, released her first novel back in 2006. It shares a title with a new Stephen King novel, which has led to some hilarious—and ontologically challenging—reviews of Emily’s book from Amazon readers. This weekend, The LA Times looks into the deeper reasons why this case of mistaken literary identity has happened.
Emily’s new novel, The Blondes, will be published by St. Martin’s-Thomas Dunne books in Fall 14. We’ll be hosting excerpts here in the new year.
The Monster, Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
As the minuteness of the parts formed a great hindrance to my speed, I resolved, contrary to my first intention, to make the being of a gigantic stature, that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionably large. After having formed this determination and having spent some months in successfully collecting and arranging my materials, I began…How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing… but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.
Read at Project Gutenberg. Purchase at Amazon or your local independent bookstore.
Suggested by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer
Jack Torrance, The Shining, Stephen King
Ullman folded his neat little hands on the desk blotter and looked directly at Jack, a small, balding man in a banker’s suit and a quiet gray tie… Danny’s face, so much like his own had been, his eyes had been light blue while Danny’s were cloudy gray, but the lips still made a bow and the complexion was fair…His eyes were far away and cloudy. His hair hanging in his eyes, like some heavy animal. A large dog… or a lion.
The documentary Room 237 opens this Friday in New York at the IFC Center and elsewhere.
Dolores “Lolita” Hayes/ Mrs. Richard F. Schiller, Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
Pale-gray vacant eyes…asymmetrical freckles on her bobbed nose…Only in the tritest of terms (diary resumed) can I describe Lo’s features: I might say her hair is auburn, and her lips as red as licked red candy, the lower one prettily plump, bobbed nose…Lolita of the strident voice and rich brown hair—of the bangs and the swirls and the sides and the curls at the back upturned russet face.
Couple of inches taller. Pink-rimmed glasses. New, heaped-up hairdo. She was frankly and hugely pregnant. Her head looked smaller and her pale-freckled cheeks were hollowed…with round pommettes…And softly, confidentially, arching her thin eyebrows…This Lolita, pale and polluted, and big with another’s child, but still gray-eyed, still sooty-lashed, still auburn and almond.
Purchase at Amazon or your local independent bookstore.
This weekend a few of my favorite New Yorkers are taking part in a marathon reading of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. You can find more on times, venues and readers here. For inspiration here is a repost of the Ahab composite.
Captain Ahab, Moby Dick, Herman Melville
He looked like a man cut away from the stake, when the fire has overrunningly wasted all the limbs without consuming them…His whole high, broad form, seemed made of solid bronze, and shaped in an unalterable mould, like Cellini’s cast Perseus…Threading its way out from among his grey hairs, and continuing right down one side of his tawny scorched face and neck, till it disappeared in his clothing, you saw a slender rod-like mark… branded… What business have I with this pipe? This thing that is meant for sereneness, to send up mild white vapors among mild white hairs, not among torn iron-grey locks like mine. I’ll smoke no more…His eyes like powder-pans… It almost seemed that while he himself was marking out lines and courses on the wrinkled charts, some invisible pencil was also tracing lines and courses upon the deeply marked chart of his forehead…His firm lips met like the lips of a vice; the delta of his forehead’s veins swelled like overladen brooks…Supper he never touched; nor reaped his beard; which darkly grew all gnarled, as unearthed roots of trees blown over, which still grow idly on at naked base. (Suggested by Jennifer Mills at The L Magazine)
Count Dracula, Dracula, Bram Stoker
A tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache…His face was a strong, a very strong, aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils, with lofty domed forehead…His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking…For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed. The chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin…The blue eyes transformed with fury. (Multiple suggestions)
Kurtz, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
I could see the cage of his ribs all astir…The eyes of that apparition shining darkly far in its bony head…It was as though an animated image of death carved out of old ivory… His mouth wide… And the lofty frontal bone of Mr. Kurtz! They say the hair goes on growing sometimes, but this—ah specimen, was impressively bald. The wilderness had patted him on the head, and, behold, it was like a ball—an ivory ball… His colorless lips… He seemed to stare at me out of the glassy panel—stare with that wide and immense stare embracing, condemning, loathing all the universe. (Multiple suggestions)
Jesus, The Last Temptation of Christ, Nikos Kazantzakis
Narrow, deeply wrinkled forehead… His patched and repatched tunic rolled off his shoulder and revealed his body—thin… The fluff about his chin and cheeks had become a curly coal-black beard. His nose was hooked, his lips thick…It was not a beautiful face, but it had a hidden, disquieting charm. Were his eyelashes to blame? Thick and exceedingly long… Or were his eyes responsible? They were large and black, full of light, full of darkness—all intimidation and sweetness. Flickering like those of a snake, they stared at you from between the long lashes, and your head reeled. (Suggested by Gary Barwin)
Good Way to Spend a Lazy Saturday: Following a ton of Literary Tumblrs -
The Composites may be biased, as this site is included, but The Millions' monster list of lit-themed Tumblrs is essential reading this weekend. There are plenty of good friends on there too, from Vol 1 Brooklyn and Recommended Reading to Little Brother.