Sunday, February 24, 2013

THE BONE PEOPLE by Keri Hulme, HOPE: A TRAGEDY by Shalom Auslander, THE CAT'S TABLE by Michael Ondaatje, MYSTIC RIVER by Dennis Lehane, THE LEFTOVERS by Tom Perrotta...more

Derelict in the reading blog department. And now I've lost track of everything I've read since September, except what is still lying around at the foot of my bed. The whole point of this blog is to help me remember what I've read. Dammit, Gumby.

In reverse reading order, calling up what very little remains in the mental sieve, the foot of the bed books are:

Possibly the most disturbing novel I've ever read. I am pulled toward dark fiction, but this book--exquisitely written though it is--was so painful I found myself skimming over entire chunks of her poetic, evocative prose, and mining entire sections of her outside-the-lines narrative for plot only, so I could continue on and, um,  get thee behind me, Bone People. Hulme tells the story of of a sprite of a boy who is severely abused by people who nevertheless truly love him. No one comes out smelling good, but you empathize with all of them, and even like them. That's a hard thing to pull off. The book is masterful... but I'm glad I'm finished with it.

HOPE: A TRAGEDY by Shalom Auslander
I'm a fan of Auslander's. And it takes chutzpah to write a dark comedy with Ann Frank as the supporting actress. Problem is that the Frank character is fabulously annoying--intentionally so--and reading about her is kind of annoying, too, and the laughs didn't quite get off the page. The construct is good, the ideas are good, the book isn't my favorite of his.

MYSTIC RIVER by Dennis Lehane
A literary murder mystery, and poignant portrait of three men who were friends as boys. Beautifully done.

THE LEFTOVERS by Tom Perrotta
What sets Perrotta's novels apart from guilty pleasures, is that he can write. His books are compulsively engaging and well-crafted. He's good. I wish I could do what he does. When a new Perrotta comes out, I buy it. And choose it for a plane ride over the more hoity-toity lit I've also packed in my luggage. Does this sound snobbish? Guilty. But not because I'm reading Perrotta's latest. The Leftovers takes on The Rapture in suburbia--smart, funny, meaningful.

Also reread TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, reviewed elsewhere in this blog. Taught it again, read it again. Never get tired of it. Always find myself stopped in my tracks in various places, asking myself, "How does she do that?"

No doubt I've missed an armful of books I've read this fall and winter.