Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Keeping Tabs

Okay, to be expanded, but books in the last while:

A Mercy - Toni Morrison
Just couldn't get into it. I dislike fiction that tries to replicate a person's dialect (put me off Robert Louis Stevenson for quite a while after I read 'Thrawn Janet'), and the parts of the novel told by Florens aggravated me. Morrison tries to tell her (very simple) story through the stories of her characters and as an insight into 17th Century America, it has its interesting aspects. However, drawing similarities between slavery and indenture is hardly ground-breaking. For a more subtle analysis of the dynamics of slavery read Octavia Butler.

The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula Le Guin
Or Ursula Le Guin. The world is changed by put-upon George Orr's dreams, and things get tough when self-righteous psychiatrist, Dr Haber, gets his claws into him. Sounds like Philip K. Dick, but Le Guin has a discipline to her narrative that Dick rarely showed. Not that there ain't problems (I hate 'real world' prophecies, aliens and clich├ęd 'battle against the wind' endings), but there's far too much that's brilliant here not to be won over. Fine stuff.

Trouble Is My Business - Raymond Chandler
Just a novella, but Marlowe all the same. A routine muck-raking case escalates into a massacre in Chandler's inimitable way. Always passes the time.

Just reading Flannery O'Connor's 'Wise Blood' now. A novel of grotesques that spawned everything from 'Taxi Driver' to 'A Confederacy of Dunces', as far as I can see. I link O'Connor to Shirley Jackson in the way I might link Morrison to Butler, but I'm liking O'Connor a lot more than I did Morrison. I'll keep you posted.

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