Stone Arabia

I’m right in the middle of Dana Spiotta‘s Stone Arabia. It’s good. It’s really good. Somewhere in the first few pages is a line that has yet to leave me alone. Read it slowly.

“Bad art

smells human

in all the wrong ways.”

What do you think of that? Does it make sense? How do you make sense of it? What does she mean?



Filed under Interesting Thought of the Day

2 responses to “Stone Arabia

  1. Donna

    Methinks the author is trying too hard to be clever. At first read it sounds profound…but pull it apart and it’s just a way of saying bad art is like body odor. I refuse to dig for deeper meaning, call me obtuse.

  2. Laurene Miller

    OK, I’m calling you obtuse. I would say the author is actually being clever, not just trying. The key word is “human.” What it means is that bad art reflects the personality flaws of the artist in a way that makes them unendurable, like a bad smell. From what I’ve seen of it, bad art usually reeks of vanity. Great art is also “human” — which means it reflects the flaws of human beings, too, but the greatness of the art makes those flaws touching or understandable. In great art, the flaws draw us closer by reminding us of our own humanity, rather than repelling us.

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