It's no mystery to any of my Blogfriends that I have not been writing much lately, nor blogging.
Other than a poem composed under the influence of too much beer and a state of emotional dismay, I really seem to have [as they say] "left the building".
But tomorrow morning I leave for a week of vacation -- much needed.
Who knows. Maybe I'll blog!
At any rate, I have been reading some great books, for sure.
Canada by Richard Ford. An excellent story of a very normal family that does a non-normal thing. At least the parents do. They rob a bank. Do not blame me for spoiling the plot line, as Ford's narrator, 15-year old Dell Parsons tells us as much in the very first line. The real story is about the effect of these actions upon Dell and his twin sister, Berner. It's a sprawling, mesmerizing read. I highly recommend it.
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan. Ahhh, Mr. McEwan, you know I love you. This novel was a real pageturner for me. I've read pretty much all of his books and trust me, the last fifty pages of this one will reaffirm for you that McEwan is still capable of pulling off the sort of exquisite literary twistiness reminiscent of Atonement.
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. American college days in the 1980's. English major Madeleine Hanna has two guys that are in love with her. Both of them are a bit crazy in their own unique way, but one suffers an actual clinical depression -- and he is the one she has given herself most completely to. The other guy, repeatedly jilted, maintains a sort of Levin-like [see Anna Karenina] lifelong devotion to Madeleine. Far be it from me to give away any more of what happens in the "marriage" plot.
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Among other reasons to read this book -- the characters are so well-drawn that they are truly unforgettable. Not to sound too repetitive from the above mentioned book, but in this one the difference may be that one woman is in love with two different guys! Again, gets married to one of them. I am not writing proper reviews of these books, I know -- these are just brief blurbs [if even that] but one thing I will say about Freedom, which is quite a lengthy book to tackle, is that the conclusion of it is very… redeeming. It's worth getting to.
The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst. I have mixed feelings about this one. It failed to captivate me as much as his The Line of Beauty -- but, having now said that nearly meaningless thing -- the strength of this book is in its underlying message that it is really impossible to know someone via a reconstruction of their life after they are gone. This is what the Valance family [and others] attempt to do after Cecil Valance, a young poet modelled after Rupert Brooke, is killed in action during WWI. A reader must be patient with the detailed investigative work that is necessary in the creation of biography or memoir. The writing itself though [by that I mean Hollinghurst's] is superb, and this novel will not disappoint those of us who read for the chemical rush of perfection in prose.
As I think of it, I have read two other books in the interim of these five mentioned.
Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes -- and The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt.
See how distracted I am by thoughts of holidays?