Thursday, June 20, 2013

Last Friends by Jane Gardam

Last in the trilogy.  A joy to read.  Finally the story of Terry Veerling's childhood.  Fiscal-Smith's redemption as a sort of bonus.  Gardam's powerful method of exposition ---misdirection and understatement and ellipsis -- make it much more important to pay attention to WHO'S doing the telling and WHEN they're telling it than the act itself.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tenth of December by George Saunders

Big fan of Saunders, but found this collection underwhelming.

Stoner by John Williams

She was, he knew-- and had known very early, he supposed -- one of those rare and always lovely humans whose moral nature was so delicate that it must be nourished and cared for that it might be fulfilled.  Alien to the world it had to live where it could not be at home; avid for tenderness and quiet, it had to feed upon indifference and callousness and noise.  It was a nature that, even in the strange and inimical place where it had to live, had not the savagery to fight off the brutal forces that opposed it and could withdraw to a quietness where it was forlorn and small and gently still.
Beautiful, tender quiet masterpiece about a poor farm boy who falls in love with literature and works his entire life in obscurity teaching at a Midwestern university.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

First read this 1995, and remember admiring it enormously -- but that's about the extent of my recollection.  After reading Joseph Anton, I decided to re-read MC (as a warmup to another attempt on The Satatnic Verses).

An overwhelming book.  This time around, it seemed clear to me that Rushie had The Tin Drum in mind as a model for the book -- a personal history of a precocious (and damaged child) whose birth, life and conflicts cunningly mirror his country's fortunes.