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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.