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Showing posts from May, 2012

Books of Note

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Not surprisingly, like a lot of John Darnielle’s music, particularly those songs on the album The Sunset Tree (Pale Green Things springs to mind and is very much worth listening to), his writing only slowly reveals itself and its narrative direction. Not in any turgid or tedious fashion, but rather in an unhurried, gentler and more thoughtful way. Universal Harvester rolls gently along its path with only a few disconcerting and probably deliberate hiccups. It starts in Iowa in the 1990s with a young man, still living at home with his father but unable to leave because of the weight of his mother’s death, years before, in a car crash. The trauma tethers Jeremy and his father together like the gravitational pull of a dead star in a comfortable and predictable but numb orbit, but it’s never something that either of them can discuss openly.
Jeremy works at a VHS rental store, so we’re assuredly early-Worldwide Web era. His job is simple, repetitive, and keeps him and his father in entertai…

Dress Her In Indigo by John D MacDonald

One phrase struck me during the reading of this book, another in the 20-odd series featuring everybody's favourite sexual healer Travis McGee, that reminded me of the fantastic lashing John D MacD got at the hands of another reviewer, and if which I made copious use in a previous review. Another of Trav's mysteriously well-connected contacts puts him on to one Enelio Fuentes, whose comportment around women is degraded at best, and whose own sensibilities lead him to pimp out two typists to Trav and hirsute pal Meyer during their stay in Oaxaca, something to which neither of them object. 

Still there?

He repeatedly describes women as either crumpets or chicklets, and Meyer later relates that when he presses Fuentes for the distinction, it's beguilingly vague and horribly sexist at the same time - I'll leave that for you to find and enjoy.

So why do I persist in reading what some might describe as novels that demean the reader as well as the women (and men) portrayed therei…