Friday, June 18, 2010

More Lost Children

We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time; keep back the tears and look a little pale about the lips, and in answers to inquiries say, "Oh, nothing!" Pride helps us; and pride is not bad thing when it only urges us to hide our own hurts--not to hurt others.
-- Middlemarch

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson is a delivery device for a mortal pain slightly beyond pale lips and lachrymose concealment. It is a novel about grief and the murky agency which threatens from beyond, part and parcel of our transparent, connected world.

Atkinson's novel shifts gradually into noir format. Its antagonist, a Wallender of Cambridge, grieves for his own ghosts, the ruins of his marriage and the future of his daughter. Ultimately its disparate threads are revealed connected. This didn't suit me at all. I understand coincidence in Dickens and Dostoevsky; I nearly crave it as well. The application of such to our own time appears maudlin. I have to agree with David Foster Wallace that such is incongruous with our access to communication and information.
Left incapacitated this week, I swung lower than usual and finished this one in two days. I am interested in her other work, though not the subsequent novels which incorporate the above-mentioned detective, one Jackson Brodie


Blogger Levi Stahl said...

I felt the same way about Case Histories when I read it recently. I enjoyed it very much, but that enjoyment was entirely despite the attempt to show us that the world is weirdly interconnected.

11:54 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home