Thursday, September 09, 2010

Two Great Books

Those of you who know practically anything about me -- well, you know that I pretty much live to read.
And eat hamburger. And drink coffee. And put food in Jack's dish.
But mostly, I love the first thing --
I want to tell you about Two Great Books.
One I just finished -- and one I just started.

Tender Morsels, by Margo Lanagan. Finished it yesterday. READ THIS BOOK!
There you go -- a review in three words! Seriously, it is that good!
I unequivocally endorse it, and without reservation.
Wait…. perhaps I have one reservation
--> you have to be willing to travel. To another world. And to cavort with Bears. And to believe in witchery.
This novel… which you will find in the Young Teen section of the bookstore [work with me, here]… is a
RADICAL re-telling of a Grimm's Fairy Tale called…… no, never mind -- you don't need to know this -- it is such a masterful revision that really, the original story is like a milkless bowl of bran flakes when you can have ham and eggs! And toast. [Just like you don't need to know the myth of Cupid and Psyche to read C.S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces five times over!]
In a nutshell though, Ms. Lanagan has written a timeless tale of the peril involved in inflicting our own desires upon the lives of others. How one person's "heaven" may not be that of another. How true love allows the differences to be experienced.
If I were to expound upon the
craft of the author, I would never quit tapping on these keys. It is exquisitely woven.
I dislike flaws, incongruities, chasms of inexplicability left open. Even in my science-fiction. When I read the last page of
Tender Morsels, I thought a lot about the story -- I reconsidered nearly everything. Searched for errors. It made me think about my own ideas about desires and longings -- fulfilled and unfulfilled -- and I concluded that this story cannot really be improved upon.
Like the tale of the Garden of Eden in Genesis, Tender Morsels is not about what
happened, but about what happens!

The Elephant's Journey, by Jose Saramago. Started it today.
How can I recommend a book that I have only read the first 33 pages of?
Because the book is by Jose Saramago!
He happens to be my favourite author, after one whose initials are W.S.
Not Will Self. Not Saroyan.]
This is the last novel he wrote. This is the first Saramagian dustjacket that has
two dates under his name, at the back.
It is already so exquisite, those first 33 pages, that I could cry. It is the story of an elephant's……… [go figure]……….. journey.
From Lisbon to Vienna.
On foot.
When? [Who cares……..] but, for sake of specificity, the year is 1551.
Admittedly, this is a bit preemptive, but, if you have not read Saramago, have you really ever read anything?

Better than cats. More important than coffee.
In Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs -- one level
higher than hamburger!


Amy said...

Heh, great review. I've heard a lot of good things about Tender Morsels. And Saramago is pretty awesome!

Stefanie said...

I've heard good things about Tender Morsels and will have to make more of an effort to remember to read it! So glad the hear the new and, sob, last, Saramago is good. And I am glad to see that reading is one step above hamburger!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I really liked Tender Morsels, but I did have to cover my eyes for the first fifty pages (peeking through from time to time to see if the icky part was over yet...)

Among Amid While said...

Thank you for this wonderful, lively, funny review of Tender Morsels, Cipriano. I'm delighted you enjoyed my book. 'cannot really be improved upon'? Music to my ears.

Best wishes,
Margo Lanagan.f