Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pym, Mat Johnson

Mat Johnson in his own little sub-genre with Victor LaVelle: just suspend your disbelief and hang on. Pym is a sharp and funny book, the characters and dialogue are great, but I’m pretty bogged down in the Thomas Kinkaide part. I feel like it stretches credibility even a little further than the bounds I had given it...for the purpose of making clever points. Which is a buzzkill.
Pym is hibernating on my Kindle right now, but I'll probably finish the book soon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, David Lipsky

A pretty quick read, though not a page-turner. Interesting conversations about writing, fame, Infinite Jest, entertainment, etc. Uninteresting conversations about movies, authors comparing themselves to other authors, etc. Pinpointed for me a kind of fiction I do not like: fiction purposely incorporating theoretical or self-referential postmoderny things into the "real world" of the novel, at the expense of elements like character or plot that make a body enjoy reading. (e.g. Raw Shark Texts, The End of Mr Y, Broom of the System.) These are not my favorites. On the other hand, I do enjoy the challenge and interest of these postmoderny incursions when they do not occur at the expense of my precious woobies of both character and plot (e.g. Pale Fire... surely there are others).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, David MItchell

Compelling read. Historical novel, in the best sense, plus some kind of supernatural adventure section there in the middle too. Views of a few cultures, understated and fascinating. The characters shine--as I’m always surprised when they do in historical fiction--with insight, intelligence, loves and motives. Some of that wabi-sabi beauty-of-the-ephemeral (autumnal?) Japanese aesthetic infuses the whole book. Entirely satisfying, good on the brain. I understand Cloud Atlas by the same author is really something special; it's been on my to-read list for a while but after reading Thousand Autumns, it has shot to the top!