Struggling with Neuromancer

          Reading Neuromancer is difficult, but to summarize my frustration, I’ll quote Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski: “…you have no frame of reference here, [Donny.] You’re like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie…”

          This novel requires slow reading and re-reading because I’m trying to construct an exposition in my head from pieces of background information as well as pay attention to the current events of the story. For example, Case’s ‘introduction’ comes after the opening in the bar and after a hint of what happened to him involving his past (“…the damage he’d suffered in that Memphis hotel…he still dreamed of cyberspace…”). It’s like putting letters in alphabetical order on a table, but I’m starting with ‘E.’ The rest of the letters are mixed up on a conveyor belt, and I need to run back and forth between the two places. I’ve read modular sequence stories before and written some too. Perhaps the arrangement of the story says something about the world it’s set in? or the way the main character, Case, thinks? It’s kind of twisted and back-and-forth, and nothing about it is just straightforward.

          At the same time, cognitive estrangement becomes evident. I’m grasping for things that I recognize in this story to keep reading. Certain characteristics of Case, such as his drug addiction (“Brazilian dex”) and suicide (“a final solitaire…arc of his self-destruction”), are evident in society today. His relationship with Linda isn’t quite healthy, but the fact that he has a relationship makes him more relatable as a character. The ‘black clinics of China’ are similar to the medical procedures that are illegal in one country, but legal in another. Altogether, what I can identify in this novel comforts me, but the structure of the novel does not.

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