Saturday, October 30, 2010

So Much, So Weak

I have spent most of the week incapacitated by some measure of a throat/chest infection. Slowly returning to the norm, I have plentiful opportunities and I finished three books in the last four days.

Freedom - Jonathan Franzen
My friends at samizdat are also involved so I won't delineate.

Enduring Love - Ian McEwan
The opening section a marvel, so precise and yet stumbling a reframing. Unfortunately traction is lost midway through the novel. Despite this almost characteristic flaw of Mr. "McCabre", I still enjoyed it immensely.

The Box: Tales From The Darkroom - Gunter Grass
I was touched by this further autobiography of Herr Grass. The Master employs a novelistic varnish towards imagined discussions amonst his eight children, covering most of his literary career, his four marriages and nearly fifty years of German history.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

For The Season

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of men. - G.K. Chesterson

Approaching the final lap for October, I have decided to pursue something in line with this witching period. The English employ a term "whinging" which I find so preferrable to our own "whining." It is because of this whinging, that I was discouraged in my two recent attempts at The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. The first narrative limps along dew-eyed and, well, pathetic. Pushing past that thisweek , the meat of the story is revealed. The seasonal suspense has been fleeting but present albeit shadowed.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Brazzaville Beach

This detour from the Lymond Chronicles marks the second William Boyd novel completed. There was such potential. The formulation of system tension whether within advanced mathematics or zoology were apt symbols. I fear that Mr. Boyd would've benefited from that of Richard Powers who carries such issues to almost absurd conclusions where his protagonists appear to be the experiments not the agents thereof.

I read of a comparison between this novel and those of Norman Rush; Anglos in Africa and whatnot. Having never finished either Mating or Rituals I can only nod in that direction. The most convincing milieu in Brazzaville Beach had to be the environment of the chimpanzees, a dangerous world so similar to our own.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Friday

Today is my friend Tim's birthday. Incidentally, it is also the birthday of Nietzsche. My friend is a conservative and often jokes that I have a boyfriend. Perhaps my friend would benefit from some Nietzsche, the productivity of errors and amor fati might just be what he needs. Ideas , especially from 19th Century Continental Philosophers, are somewhat similar to lucky coins these days. I appreciate the encounters, but the foundational impacts have to be considered subconscious, if they are being considered at all.

Nietzsche often begs for a return. I know I should but haven't found the inertia, much like belief after the death of god.

I wish all the best to Tim and to Korana from Belgrade; its her birthday as well.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Following Francis

It would be trivial to ignore the fact that I grew palpably riveted as I finished Game of Kings Monday night. Certain lower registers in my memory warned me against this, the suspenseful slope was certainly slippery. That said Ms. Dunnett has larded it all with erudition and intrigue: quite my alley, you can imagine.

The following day I completed Finishing School, my first entry into the work of Muriel Spark. It was a breezy read which demanded an almost constant smile. I enjoyed it without really becoming acquainted.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Oh Hungary!

Environmental disaster is hardly for the faint of character. These episodes continue to haunt me.
(photo courtesy of AP, Yahoo)

So It Passes

The other day marked the thousandth posthere for what that's worth. There is much to be said about Wolf Hall. I was told recently by a friend that there will be a sequel which is an exciting prospect.

While overseas I bought a few books, Flaubert in Srpski as well as a some recently translated Balkan novels in English. I read two of those while abroad. Fear and Servant by Mirjana Novakovic is a historical novel depicting a visit by Satan to Belgrade in the 18th Century. He's concerned about vampire sightings and whether this could signify the End Times. The premise is extended through 280 pages and a pair of narrators finally yielding the conclusion that it is Europe proper which kept vampirism contained in Serbia and that Satan isn't vanquished, he's only in repose.

The Cyclist Conspiracy by Svetislav Basara was much more rewarding. Written 21 years ago, it explores ideology and the absurd. Recalling the best of Danilio Kis, the novel has proved remarkably prescient.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

While God Laughs

I should have posted on my reading of two Balkan novels while in Belgrade.

That will happen, eventually.

I found myself so pleased with the day's Nobel selection. I have read a dozen of Vargas Llosa's works and to my wife's chagrin I said that he's greatest stylist in the Spanish language.