Monday, August 04, 2008

Angus' summer reading

This is a great era for fiction. Here is at least some of what I've been reading over the summer.

1. Darkmans by Nicola Barker. Flashes of brilliance, with great character studies, dialogue and comic set pieces but on the other hand a few dry spells and neither the conventional mystery nor the supernatural one are very coherent (which is not necessarily a problem in my view). Overall though, I'd recommend it. It's not as good as "Cloud Atlas" though.

2. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. I started this and put it down, but ran out of stuff on our trip to Madagascar and took it up again. I am very glad I did. The first person plural voice and lack of affect are a bit hard to get used to, but if you can, the book itself is really good. Consistently good throughout.

3. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. This is a fantastic book. The way the story of Trujillo is interwoven with the story of Oscar's family is seamless, and to me, enthralling. The tone, the Spanglish, the footnotes. This one is really excellent.

4. A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. I liked this book so much I stayed up late finishing it, like Homer Simpson frantically racing to finish the free tainted ham before it killed him. To me this is better than his earlier, more popular, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time". It's more of an old fashioned story than any of the above three but it really struck a chord with me. It reminded me a bit of "The Corrections" by Franzen but it's more kind to the human race than that. Maybe "The Corrections" meets "My big fat Greek wedding"!

More later.