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Lalitha was parking her charms with a Jairam Options
vava
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 3:21:42 PM
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Her boyfriend, Jairam, was thick-bodied and somewhat ugly but arrogant and driven, a heart surgeon in training, and Lalitha was by no means the first attractive young woman whom Walter had seen parking her charms with a Jairam type in order to avoid being hit on everywhere she went.

Freedom, J. Franzen


I can easily infer what this expression means but why can't I find it on Google?. Is it a rare phrase, if a phrase at all?
leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 4:11:49 PM

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It's not a common phrase, but it's an original use of an informal meaning of "to park," that is, to leave something somewhere while it is not being used.
Romany
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 4:30:18 PM
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Leon's right - it's not an idiom or a common phrase, but an original one coined by the writer.

Given the way in which Jairam is described, Lalitha depends upon him as a protective cover to shield her from the predators who hit on single girls. So I see the phrase just a little differently to Leon: - One parks a vehicle in a garage or shelter to protect it from thieves, the elements, damage. Just so does Lalitha depend upon Jairam - which is not to say she isn't fond of him. But a car doesn't spend it's entire life in a garage so we are told, rather subtly and cleverly with the use of the verb 'park', that Jairam is not the permanent love of her life.
Articulate Dreamer
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 4:49:50 PM

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Even if it is an original it is a clumsy phrase as indeed is the whole passage. I would seriously advise any new learner of the language to veer away from such prose; seasoned English readers are unlikely to go this way anyhow, methinks.
vava
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 5:06:59 PM
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The book is indeed full of quirky (some may say clumsy) phrases. Like "he turned on the TV, just for the blare of it." It's Franzen, tries too hard sometimes.
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 10:42:32 PM
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Whatever the story is about, it sounds awful. I agree with articulate dreamer, the writing is just as bad.
genome
Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 3:15:04 AM
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It appears to be a silly, contrived expression and does not really convey any sense. The passage is an example of very badly written prose.
excaelis
Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 3:21:25 AM

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Oh, I don't know. I rather like it. The sentence as a whole, however, should have been strangled at birth.
D.Simms
Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 6:10:24 AM
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No two ways about it, I like the sentence, at least out of context. It's awkward, appropriate for describing awkward affairs of the heart. If I saw the sentence in context, I may not like it as well. I am, however, intrigued and will attempt to read the referenced work.
Romany
Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 9:44:37 AM
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What am I missing here?

\I think the sentence is quite apposite for the kind of writing, and the kind of audience, for which its intended. People don't spend their whole time reading Classics, or reading simply to 'improve their minds'. Every writer has to tailor their writing for the intended audience, and many writers fulfill their jobs by being entertaining rather than instructive. We don't expect all movies to be of an uplifting or instructive nature, so I think it's just a teensy bit elitist, isn't it, to expect all writing to be so?

As long as there are no screamingly horrible grammatical atrocities or syntactical absurdities, which, honestly, I don't see in this excerpt, I think its far better people of all descriptions and levels still turn to books rather than cheap movies. And, as I said above, I rather think that the 'parking' analogy is rather a move sophisticated analogy than the writer is being given credit for.

Compared to some of the truly illiterate stuff that is available on Net blogs and lurid newspapers, I wouldn't frown on this lot at all.
Christine
Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 10:31:58 AM
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Parking her charms means put all her charms on him. He would be a good catch. (I think)
thar
Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 10:38:13 AM

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I think I am with Romany on this. The style may feel a bit odd, but it is readable (better than the unpuncuated Cormac McCarthy!). And it does manage to include a lot of subtle meaning with the word 'park'. Whether it is secure long-term parking or a quick nip into the most convenient space in the high street.... now that is another matter, which I am sure will unfold in the story!

mister_moon
Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 10:53:01 AM
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I can see nothing wrong with this phrase, and find it rather attractive as prose. There are plenty of references found in Google Books to the use of park as a colloquial verb, meaning to sit or to stop somewhere.

Survey of English Dialects: The Dictionary and Grammar [Clive Upton](1994) gives park yourself meaning to sit; as does 2000 English Phrases & Sentences [Colonel Rajeev Mongia](2003). While I can find no references to the use of park + intangible e.g. affection this may well be down to the nature of the search possibilities, and examples may exist with a different intangible (given the number of possibilities).

That said, if this is a new usage of the phrase, I find it a refreshing and original way of describing a state of affairs many of us are familiar with; a person who 'has' someone for the sake of the having and not because they want that person specifically.

excaelis
Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 12:06:02 PM

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I don't expect all movies to be uplifting, but if I'm paying to see them I do expect they be well made.
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 11:32:59 PM

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genome wrote:
It appears to be a silly, contrived expression and does not really convey any sense. The passage is an example of very badly written prose.


With all due respect, when you don't park your chewing gum on the bed post overnight…

Just saying.
Articulate Dreamer
Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 12:27:08 AM

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To each his/her own frowning space i guess, Romany. On a comparative basis. you're of course right: there is worse, blessed as it is by the wide exposure the net affords everybody today.

But hey, Joyce was clever; so was Burgess... and a host of others who twist words and phrases that are a great delight, enticing you to pursue their creations.

Vava, i'm curious too why Franzen (not familiar with him/her or his/her work) would have chosen Indian characters.. ?
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 1:44:17 AM

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D.Simms wrote:
No two ways about it, I like the sentence, at least out of context. It's awkward, appropriate for describing awkward affairs of the heart. If I saw the sentence in context, I may not like it as well. I am, however, intrigued and will attempt to read the referenced work.


^^^^^This^^^^^

It is an example of well-written fiction. It is not something that one would hear every day, but then again, that is not why one would buy a book and read it again and again.

It is something to take note of how the language works.

I would not have written it that way, but perhaps that is why very little of what I have written has been published. Think

Hope2
Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 10:11:44 AM

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Jonathan Franzen
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jonathan Franzen

Franzen at the 2011 Time 100 gala
Born Jonathan Earl Franzen
August 17, 1959 (age 53)
Western Springs, Illinois
Occupation Novelist, essayist
Nationality American
Period 1988–present
Genres Literary fiction
Literary movement Hysterical realism[1]
Notable work(s) The Corrections (2001), Freedom (2010)
Notable award(s) National Book Award
2001
James Tait Black Memorial Prize
2002
Influences[show]
www.jonathanfranzen.com


Jonathan Earl Franzen (born August 17, 1959) is an American novelist and essayist. His 2001 novel, The Corrections, a sprawling, satirical family drama, drew widespread critical acclaim, earned Franzen a National Book Award, was a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist, a James Tait Black Memorial Prize and a shortlisting for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His most recent novel, Freedom (2010), coincided with a much debated appearance on the cover of Time magazine alongside the headline "Great American Novelist".[4][5]
Franzen writes for The New Yorker magazine. His 1996 Harper's essay Perchance to Dream bemoaned the state of contemporary literature. 2001's selection of The Corrections for Oprah Winfrey's book club led to a much publicized feud with the talk show host. In recent years, Franzen has become recognized for his purveyance of opinions on everything from social networking services such as Twitter ("the ultimate irresponsible medium") and the proliferation of e-books ("just not permanent enough") to the disintegration of Europe ("The people making the decisions in Europe are bankers. The technicians of finance are making the decisions there. It has very little to do with democracy or the will of the people.") and the self-destruction of America ("almost a rogue state").[6][7][8]
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 11:27:16 AM

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Well, he does seem to be an outspoken chappie, doesn't he?
vava
Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 1:58:00 PM
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An interesting fact: Franzen sits on the panel that composes the American Heritage Dictionary. Which is this website's main English dictionary.
excaelis
Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2012 1:56:02 AM

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That might explain why I don't care for this sentence. You're either part of the solution...
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