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Showing posts from March, 2013

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…

The Bloodstone Papers by Glen Duncan

I can confirm that I have now completely caught up on Glen Duncan’s backlist and can happily begin reading the werewolf trilogy (starting with The Last Werewolf) when time and tide allows – that’s the waxing and waning tide of my habitually meandering attention. The Bloodstone Papers is now safely under the belt and committed to the somewhat over capacity bookshelves in the lounge. 
I often feel that to talk about a favourite writer’s writing (albeit metaliterally, if such an adjective exists) is somewhat disingenuous, that it cannot always do justice to the effort, intelligence and craft of an author. I may have used this somewhere before, but I vividly recall reading a quote attributed to Dylan Thomas but which I can no longer find and therefore verify, where he likens the putting onto paper of an idea to the catching of a large and terrible fish, which once landed following Herculean effort must necessarily end up lifeless. This tends to encapsulate the anxiety I feel when I conside…