Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Step Aside

Lumbering under the joyful heft of Bleak House, I deicded that after the crush of Monday-through-Wednesday I was going to finish the week with a diversion. I had been nibbling at The Invisible Woman by Claire Tomalin, favorite amongst those i esteem . I was amazed in the Acknowledgements at the chummy incest where Tomalin can leisurely ask Eric Hobsbawm and John Keegan for detailed asides on aspects of Victorian London. This sensation, envy(?), propelled me to The Biographer's Tale by A.S.Byatt. I thoroughly enjoyed the opening sections but soon found it to be a polite nod to W.G. Sebald rife with photographs and replicated drawings, all of which were laden with Sebald's beloved silkworms and beetles. I finished the novel yesterday after a bicycle ride to Louisville.

My next stop was Michael Frayn's Headlong. I was unfamiliar with his work and only knew him as Ms. Tomalin's husband. My experience has proved quite rich for the decision. Headlong is an amazing novel, bubbling with humor, mis-steps and intellectual excitement.

I hope to reach p. 500 in Bleak House by the weekend.


Blogger Levi Stahl said...

The influence goes both ways, it seems, as you've just convinced me to take a look at Michael Frayn--looks like my local bookstore has it on their shelves.

Previously, I'd lodged him in my mind as someone worth checking out someday on the advice of the Neglected Books Page, who wrote:

"There are very few books I’ve ever read a second time. For me, the bigger problem is what not to read. There is only one book, however, I’ve read a third, fourth, and, recently, fifth time: Michael Frayn’s Sweet Dreams."

10:10 AM  

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