Archive for the ‘Julian Barnes’ Category

Thanks for another pleasant book club meeting, dear friends!

I mentioned The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, which I read avidly but having completed it, felt somewhat cheated. Brilliant prose, evocative images, perfect textbook plotting–but at the end, I thought, what, is that all? I re-read, thinking I had missed something, and no doubt, I did. It is too precious for me,  I am not worthy of its excellence. The terrible thing that the protagonist discovers he has done, as he rediscovers his past–was it so terrible? Such dismal self-hatred, leaves me a little cold.  I guess I prefer those more outrageously courageous writers, who persevere in the belief that things matter. That they matter.

Which brings me to the book I’m listening to now, all blasted steam punk despair, but violently, eloquently full of passionate intensity: Viriconium, by M. John Harrison. VERY engaging, if not as much so as the George M. Martin books that Cathie is now reading, which catch you by the throat and don’t let go. These stories are more elegiac, more poetic. Still, solidly entertaining, with the view of the fading earth and the failing civilizations, far far in the future.It is reminding me of the series by Gene Wolf, the Book of the New Sun, also extremely engaging and entertaining, the author obviously an educated man (though his subsequent books I found unreadable–unclear, irresolute). Sci Fi/Fantasy, a disreputable genre which I continue to find irresistible.

Though right now, my bedside book is Claire Tomalin’s biography of Charles Dickens–what a fascinating man! And what a clear elegant piece of writing. Also, certified nightmare free, unlike the George Martin OR the Harrison.



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