Sunday, October 28, 2007

Highlights of a Year thus struggled

2007 has been defined more by books on the Middle East, especially the notable Robert Fisk, than upon many works of fiction especially the highly anticipated Against The Day by Thomas Pynchon which proved titanic in scope and thus beyond the haggard layman mining it for pithy insights into an economic history of the west between 1880 and 1914. If I was one to wager a novel for the year it would likely prove to be Voss by Patrick White. This was a stunning display of narrative across time and blistering inlands of Australia which kept reminding me oddly enough of Texaco by Caribbean novelist Patrick Chamoiseau.

Peeling the Onion by Gunter Grass will last in my memory for myriad justifications, most notably the heartache I felt when wrestling with the master's confession and then that memorable meeting of the minds when Grass encountered Joel Vessels (and not vice versa) and what remains to be said?

There was a trio of books by Peter Ackroyd which inspire but do not overwhelm. I suppose that was also my interest in Neal Stephenson and my second reading of Quicksilver. Anthony Powell proved flat and Graham Greene wasn't. I loved Mr. Sammler's Planet but felt undercut by the cheapness of Humboldt's Gift.

Both Tree of Smoke and Wizard of the Crow were overrated. Conversely, The Savage Detectives was actually greater than its surfeit of press could establish. Their were other infatuations and rereadings, a nod to Bartlby as I prefer not to dwell -- not extensively, such only proves to depress. I hope to anchor myself to the weighty carcasses of that distant age of novels, a melding of dear Hobsbawm's Capital and Empire. I don't wish to be glib, not under these circumstances but it does prove difficult to decide and then to execute.


Blogger jon faith said...

I shouldn't construct these from memeory. I neglected Alvaro Mutis which I still regard as seminal.

5:28 PM  

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