Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken

Proof of God? Proof was in the world, and the way you visited the world was on foot... Your walking was a devotion. (44)

LuEtta had recently decided she would be a wonder instead of a beauty.  She had seen beauties go mad in middle age, as their beauty turned less live and more monumental, beauty still but mostly to mark the space where greater beauty once had been. But wondrous was wondrous, even when you outgrew it.

Summerlong by Dean Bakopoulos


Monday, May 06, 2019

Fear by Bob Woodward


Ill Will by Dan Chaon

Compelling.  Multiple points of view, multiple time frames, putting together a tormented family history of murder and treachery.  Falters a bit at the end, but some very interesting swings of sympathy with characters you thought you knew well.  And some interesting clinical explanations on the psychology of memory and personality.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Proof of Collusion by Seth Abramson


Epitaph of a Small Winner by Machado de Assis

In justice to my father, one should note that he resorted to elaborate invention only after first experimenting with simple falsehood.

Virgilia was a beautiful sin, and it is so easy to confess a beautiful sin!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Day the Sun Died by Yan Lianke

Couldn't quite get this novel.  Feels like a science fiction/dystopian exercise addressing the famines and failed social engineering experiments in China in the middle of the 20th century.   A small village begins experiencing a wave of sleepwalking and mental disease.

One chilling note:  the production, storage, and uses of "corpse oil," which is rendered by a family that runs the local crematorium, pressed from dead bodies before they are burned.

The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace

First novel, written while he was a graduate student.  Re-reading it, I find it charming and breezy, compared to Infinite Jest and The Pale King. Still a handful of a novel, though. Many of the same elements -- the disturbed, brilliant, manic nuclear family, the meta-presence of philosophical theory as part of the plot, the post-modern experiments with narrative and dialogue.