Getting the allusions to other works should be a bonus. Even the “difficult stuff” (it took me four attempts to finish Moby-Dick, but I’m glad I did) has to be comprehensible without knowing what happened in Canto IV of The Divine Comedy. Also, no one understands everything about a book, from the author onwards. I had a few tutorials at uni where one of the students would say something and the lecturer or professor would say: “I hadn’t thought of that.”
finished my third read through of the wind up bird chronicle, feel like i’ve finally exhausted it this time found books one and two to still be absolutely incredible tbh, book three is a bit weaker but still very bloody good
recently read Ice by Anna Kavan - it was really quite good, very difficult to pin down (in a good way) and a little more disturbing than I expected too
(didn’t someone mention it on here at some point?)
The introduction though, by Christopher Priest, was so far below the book itself, lacking any interesting insight, and obsessed with genre classifications too - spent more time talking about that than about the book. A kind of bugbear of mine, the way an inferior but better-known author gets to write a introduction for something they can’t remotely measure up to. Happens far too often (especially when Steven King is involved!). That shit is better left to dry biographers or boring academics in my opinion. Good/bad introductions might be too tedious a subthread to be going on with though
Got a really nice hardback copy of Great Expectations for my birthday. I remember my Mam reading it to me when I was little so looking forward to revisiting it.
The two times I’ve read it, I always feel like it kind of loses steam towards the end. I think when the novel is about building up that much alienating strangeness and mystery, that’s to be expected
yeah completely agree. maybe i’d just forgotten coz it’s been a while but i was surprised this time by how much of an effort he makes to tie things up quite neatly at the end.
basically love novels that go… central mystery --> mystery becomes deeper and more complex --> protagonist makes vain efforts to solve it, probably making it more convoluted in the process --> book ends with nothing resolved and nobody learns anything
please recommend any books which fit this formula
Crying of Lot 49
dunno if I can intercede, but Monsieur Pain by Roberto Bolano definitely does (and as a bonus it’s very short)
I’ve never got around to reading that. Really enjoyed Kafka on the Shore and that book he wrote about running. Should probably add it to the list as I have it sitting on a shelf somewhere.
new york trilogy too obvs?
i read 2666 a long time ago and really enjoyed it. savage detectives has been sat on my shelves for years n all, need to get back on it.
Finished The Little Friend, discussing it tomorrow night - hopefully @infinite_jest has read it as well otherwise what will we discuss???
Got Middlesex to read next, looks pretty weighty. I hope it’s good.
i knew i was asking for someone to bring him up. i read that but didn’t like it, felt like a very lightweight version of that tbh.
booooo. was probably the first one of those sort of books i ever read so it had a big impact, the rest of his stuff i’ve tried was very diminishing returns though tbh.
aye i tried reading another of his. was enjoying it ok until 2/3rds of the way through when this twist happened and it just killed the book dead for me and i think i’m done with him after that.
would really recommend alain robbe-grillet for that kind of thing if you haven’t read any!
was it ‘music of chance’? had pretty much exact same response to that one.
i read djinn by your man a few years ago but it didn’t really catch me, supposed to be one of his more lightweight things i think, will put him on the list though.
it was the brooklyn follies. was a shame coz i actually enjoyed it up to a point but it did a huge nosedive.
haven’t read djinn actually, have never been able to track that one down. reckon the best ones to try would be either the erasers or the voyeur, or maybe jealousy, but they’re all pretty similar tbh. only one i wasn’t really convinced by was reflections of the golden triangle.
What @manches-brute said, obviously, (or Inherent Vice if you like.)
Only Forward or The Yiddish Policeman’s Union might tick some of the convoluted mystery stories.
aye i’ve read crying of lot 49 and inherent vice, liked the former really a lot and am probably due a re-read, the latter not so much.
Dunno how pretentious you’re feeling but A Void doesn’t use the letter E and is a very convoluted mystery.