Okay, time to finish this stuff up.
24. The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker. The first thing to note is the construction of narrative voice and character, which is accomplished in a very unostentatious but extremely true to life manner. (Which is to say, I could see this guy, he was counterpointed into a 3-D being in my head, and his voice remained consistent throughout.) It was a sympathetic voice, though not without its flaws and idiosyncrasies. Then there is the unity of the metaphors: Baker deconstructs objects from everyday life, staplers, trains, shoelaces, popcorn–he brilliantly defamiliarizes them, . . . continue reading, and add your comments
19. The Tanners by Robert Walser: You can read my review here. I’ll just say here that for most of this book I had a superficial sense of what it was about–romanticism, obviously–but I had little sense of what it was really about–where it started from, where it was headed, why it took the path it did. That’s usually a disorienting and even alienating experience in a book, but each subsection The Tanners was such a compelling experience in and of itself, that to a large extent broader questions were immaterial to simply enjoying the experience of this . . . continue reading, and add your comments
13. The She-Devil in the Mirror by Horacio Castellanos Moya: In my opinion, Castellanos Moya is one of the most interesting Latin American authors to emerge in English translation in the past few years. Legend has it that Castellanos Moya was one of three authors Francisco Goldman urged New Directions to translate (Bolano being one of the others, though I've forgotten the third). Senselessness was a great choice for a first translation in that I immediately wanted to read anything else written by its author. The She-Devil in the Mirror was #2, and in fact they make . . . continue reading, and add your comments
7. Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann – You don't really need me to tell you that Buddenbrooks is a great book. For those new to Mann, it's the most approachable of his major novels that I've read. It's also the closest to good old 19th-century realism. A highly sardonic, unforgiving tale of a family that just isn't going to make it. Read it with someone you love.
8. Suttree by Cormac McCarthy – I read (or re-read) all of McCarthy this year, but I'm not going to subject anyone to tedious recommendations of most of his works, . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I'm determined to run down my favorite reads of 2009 on this blog, but I think it might take a few posts. So this is the first, in grand hopes that I'll make it to the last.
In the order in which they were read:
1. The Darkroom of Damocles: The plot of this detective fiction is just a hair less convoluted than that of The Big Sleep, but Damocles is making more of a point with its madness. The book follows an ordinary Dutch man brought into the ranks of the resistance during World War II. He's . . . continue reading, and add your comments