Sunday, August 26, 2012

THE TRAGEDY OF ARTHUR by Arthur Phillips, some of NERUDA, SELECTED POEMS, THE CORRESPONDENCE ARTIST by Barbara Browning, THE SENSE OF AN ENDING by Julian Barnes, HOME by Toni Morrison

Not exactly a lost summer--more like a lost and happily found summer, but the usual time to read and write was in the lost column. Also lost: my mid-summer blog post, which I'd thought I'd uploaded, but is nowhere to be found, and that featured the stellar TRAGEDY OF ARTHUR, and a couple of other books I can't recall. I'll repost a dusty couple of sentences about the former, and let the latter go.

THE TRAGEDY OF ARTHUR by Arthur Phillips
Brilliant! Phillips manages to roast the cult of Shakespeare, while simultaneously honoring the guy. Rollicking, funny, fresh, wildly inventive, and just plain fun. Man, can this guy write. A brother and sister are in possession of a lost Shakespeare play. Or is it the work of their con artist father? This is one of those stellar reads that made me wonder why I ever try to write anything at all.

Yum. 'Nuff said.

After having spent several years with a Distant (sic) lover, flapping my digital wings with all my might to keep the shaky plane in the air, Browning's novel had particular resonance for me. The Correspondence Artist is an e-pistolary romance with a twist: the emails the protagonist sends are to four invented lovers, who form a composite of the one love whose name she dare not speak. With smart humor and in simple, direct language, the heroine tells her erotic story.

Barnes writes an elegant sentence and a tightly constructed novel. His blue chip rep is deserved. But he's not a chick's writer--at least not this chick. The female lead in this spare novel could only have been dreamed up by a man, and there's something old boys' club about the texture of his writing.

HOME by Toni Morrison
A shell-shocked Korean War vet's love for his baby sister, set against a background of Southern racial politics. Touching and tender, a taut little read, but not star quality like some of her early works.