“Stein has taken on a great challenge to break conventional ways of looking at words.”



I admit to a complete ignorance about Gertrude Stein. All I know is she wrote a book called “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” and I wished to read it. I managed to filch a copy off the Interweb and read a couple of chapters. I forgot to save it, we had a power cut and that was the end of that.

I tried searching for it in iBooks but I would have had to pay for it. So I searched for a cheap copy online. Nothing doing. I ended up just downloading what I could get for free. This was one of them.

Now, with the little bit that I managed to read of Alice B Toklas, I thought Gertrude Stein’s writing was brilliant. So I attacked this volume with relish. I so wish I hadn’t.

Firstly, I didn’t understand it. I couldn’t. It was literally written in gibberish. None of it made sense, save for one or two thoughts. It was like sitting through a three part version of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.

I found myself so muddled by the contents that I had to research it. Even then I didn’t understand it. It was just beyond my realm of comprehension.

Perhaps, in order to understand the book, one has to know a bit about Ms Stein’s background. I got to the point where all I wanted to know was what drugs she was ingesting as she wrote this.

It was frustrating. It was nerve-wracking. It was plum stupid. And it has turned me right off on any of her other writing. I think, had I had a paper copy, I would have flung it across the room upon completion. Absolutely horrific.



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Added 6th February 2016