Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Sport and a Pasttime by James Salter

The celebrated 1968 "short" novel (187 pgs in my edition, although it feels much longer than that, and in a good way) is dense and lingering and smacked full of the senses.  At once a love story and a travelogue of "old France," it features the lovers Dean (a Yale dropout) and Anne-Marie (a French waitress), and a probing, poetic third person narrator who at onces describes their affair in sensual,emotional detail and also seems to be fantasizing into existence, in the same moment.

Begs re-reading, like any good poem, since I had that rushed feeling reading it (like poetry) that only halfway through was I truly begin to understand it narratively, and so need to go back and revisit both the heightened language, the emotional tone, and the plot of it all.

Singular.  Nabokov crossed with John O'Hare.  France seems an infinitely enchanted and endless place.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut

Was so excited to read this, nostalgic, read Updike's more general appreciation of Vonnegut in his Hugging The Shore and thought I'd really missed something.

Missed nothing.  A terrifically slight book, I thought. Read it in about two hours, felt almost nothing.