Sunday, March 09, 2008

More books I've read in 2008

Breakfast After Noon, by Andi Watson is a graphic novel about Rob and Louise, two young Brits about to be married who get laid off from their jobs in the fine pottery business, and how each of them reacts to this set back, and how it affects their relationship. Louise goes out and gets new training, Rob refuses to even consider looking for work in another field, and his life eventually comes close to falling apart. This might seem odd coming from me -- the King of Happy Endings -- but this book's happy ending seemed forced. In my experience, things don't usually turn out that well for people like Rob, too inflexible to see more than one way of perceiving oneself.

And Russell Hoban redeems himself in my book. Y'all know he's one of my favorite writers, Come Dance With Me and Her Name Was Lola both blew me away, but Linger Awhile left me cold. I liked The Medusa Frequency a lot more. It's weird, of course. A blocked writer spends his time conversing with the head of Orpheus, when said head is not a football or a cabbage, that is. Along the way Hoban discourses on -- among many other things -- fidelity:

"Fidelity is a matter of perception; nobody is unfaithful to the sea or to the mountains or to death; once recognized they fill the heart. . . Anyone who loves, anyone who perceives the other person fully can only be faithful, can never be unfaithful to the sea and the mountains and the death in that person, so pitiful and heroic is it to be a human being."

"Art is a celebration of loss, of beauty passing, not to be held." "What remained became the endlessly voyaging sorrow and astonishment from which I write in those brief moments when I can write." "Used properly the back of a cereal box is to literature what Buddy Holly is to music."

Love, and why art is but a pale remnant of love:

"When there was love and happiness there was no story, what there was could not be contained by words. With the death of love came the story and the story found words for it."

A beautiful and profound book. Just what I expect from Mister Hoban. (Maybe I should reread Linger Awhile; I must have missed something.)

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