Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The genre says it all: Domestic Fiction.

Everything about it is neat: the cunning mirror-image plot, the finely-drawn characters, fine without ever spilling over into memorable.  a little too neat for my taste.

Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson

Working my way back through Johnson's work after his lamentable early death, I realize I'm fonder of the later stuff than the earlier.  This is earlier, the much-fawned-over druggie tales.  The imagery doesn't seems as stunning to me as it seems genre-driven: the surreal-poetry-image, the disconnected narratives, the violence everywhere calmly announced.

I think TREE OF SMOKE is his masterpiece, a real novel, deep.

The World According to Garp by John Irving

Difficult to re-read this now and not know now what I didn't know then.  The cultural moment of Garp -- Irving's sudden celebrity, the big movie they made out of it with big stars (must watch it again) -- overshadows the book.

The whole second half I had largely forgotten.  But the first half is vivid.  There is something about Irving's phrasing that is always memorable even if his characters seem more one-dimensional than real.  The voice is something, though.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

“In my experience, the people who worry about losing their edge, often they fail to see they already lost the blade along time ago.”

My second attempt at reading this. Bought it when it came out in 2009 and got to page 292.  My dim memory is that I was floundering in the sea of Yiddish terms and also, #2, it weren't no Kavalier and Klay.

Loved it this time around.  Thick book -- Chabon really lays it on thick with sense description, and it starts to slow things down halfway through, and take some steam out of the engine of a great noir whodunit -- but Chabon's writing in and of itself is such a great wallowing pleasure, he's always trying to please, and I love the book for that.