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Showing posts from March, 2015

Books of Note

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Yah, yah, I know, I’ve been lollygaggin’ and work-shyin’ and leaving all my lovely spammers in Tamil Nadu with nothing on which to post spam but old reviews. I’ve not even been all that busy, except when it comes to slapping on weight and destroying some neural connections, both of which I’ve done with glazed-eyed indifference and robotic monotony. Still, I feel I owe it to GDR to at least put Shantaram to bed before I buy (whoops, sorry, already done) and read his next book, The Mountain Shadow, which even now is winging its way to my door by the magic of Amazon Prime Same Day DeliveryTM.
It turns out that GDR was indeed a bit of a knob. He robbed building societies in Australia, always dressed in a three-piece suit and minding his Ps & Qs, and only targeting those with adequate insurance. How he knew which did and didn’t have adequate insurance is not mentioned. On the back of this, or maybe it was the other way around, his wife kicked him out and he lost contact with his only da…

Sabbatical by John Barth

You may have heard me mention Barth in other posts as an author for whom I have all the time in the world, but time which needs to be apportioned and plotted across the linear path of my intertextual voyage, much like the course a sailor might plot as he or she or they sailed across his beloved Chesapeake Bay. His novels are course markers, between two of which I might meander or make other stops as whimsy dictates. They are also a delight, a challenge, a reproach, an encouragement, a revelation. Whilst there are other literary ports for me in times of foul weather, Barth stands as my lighthouse to guard and guide.

Okay, sailing metaphors be damned, and on with the story. Sabbatical, subtitled A Romance, engenders so many Ah! and Oh! moments, both revelatory and astonishing, and (as the Washington Post notes on the cover) visceral and bloody, that I think I won't be able to do it justice in a review. I remarked to a colleague, half in jest and half in a fit of pique at his lip-curl…

Odd Corners by William Hjortsberg

Something about William Hjortsberg chimes with me on a level I'm not really sure how to define. We share a few interesting commonalities - a deep and abiding appreciation of Richard Brautigan, a distaste for the generously applied literary tags of publishers and critics, a difficult surname to spell - but it is his writing that murmurs warm and comfortingly in my mind and makes it a delight to spend an afternoon deeply immersed therein. I regret offering up Nevermore and Fallen Angel to the indifferent charity shop shoppers without defending their literary honour, and so in my new found library-lite state of being I am definitely keeping this little collection, and will jealously guard it against the constraints of future living arrangements. 

For those who do like pigeon-holes with their reading, one might throw this one into science-fiction. For indeed, just as Hjortsberg proffers in his own introduction, the stories utilise aspects of future technology to deliver their morals an…