Date Archives December 2008

Books not to miss in 2009

I’m never sure how these lists get created. In any case, the Guardian has named it’s books not to miss in 2009. Odd phrasing – not books to read, but books not to miss. Like the best advertising, it suggests an urgency, a tremendous opportunity that could be missed if you’re not fast enough.  In any case, the one I’m most interested in not missing is Set 2666 by Roberto Bolano. I have not read anything by him yet, but keep coming across the name and have seen good reviews for this… Read More

“A Pale View of Hills” by Kazuo Ishiguro

Most of this novel is memory: a woman thinking about her daughter’s suicide and remembering an earlier summer in post-War Nagasaki. Almost nothing happens in the present day. The whole story of A Pale View of Hills takes place in the past. And the story in the past is full of holes. At first this annoyed me but, the more I thought about it, the more I realised how true this is to the story as the woman would have thought about it. Not only are our memories full of… Read More

"Three Stories" by Alan Bennett

All three of these stories have a deeply satirical flavour, with dry, mostly successful humour and pointed observations on the various absurdities and hypocrisies we live by. “The Laying on of Hands” describes a memorial service for a masseur to the rich and famous, at which everyone (including the priest) is secretly worrying about whether the man died of AIDS. It’s told in omniscient third-person narrative, mostly focusing on the priest’s thoughts and perspectives but also dipping into the mind of a straight-laced canon sitting at the back and occasionally… Read More