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The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

It's alright dad, Caleb said, you're safe now.
Then the lights went out.
I guess at some point I should give all this* up and resign myself to the facts of my life - that there will never be enough time for everything and everything that is not everything will get in everything's way, without a shadow of a doubt. Some six months has passed since I first picked up book three of The Passage trilogy and once more I can't remember any of the characters' names, except Amy, the girl / vampire / heroine / old lady as it turns out of the story. There are some people in it from before, some names I can sort-of scratch at from under the silver foil of my hazy memory, but without ever winning the jackpot of full recall. Peter? Michael? And the former army-type person and now, unsurprisingly, a vampire-type, whose name escapes me.

And there's a new bad guy (of course there is), the original bad guy who has been hiding the whole time in an unwritten back story. 

Well, now it's written. And I can remember nearly nothing of any of it.

Anyway, from what I do remember, Manhattan is the titular city, the soaring skyscrapers still reflecting the rays of the sun like so many mirrors. This bad guy seems to be living in Central Station Terminal in midtown, somewhere he waited for a woman who didn't come. Because she was dead. Now for some reason he's a naughty vampire, pulling the strings behind yet another vampire uprising, this time years after the last one was ostensibly defeated. Humans are losing their fear, defences are dropped, and then it's bitey-bitey time once more. And there's a big boat, some sort of ark metaphor no doubt.

Of course, I could go back and flip idly through the pages to refresh my memory, but I can't be arsed.

I recall being fairly excited to put this trilogy to bed, but for some reason it took me quite a while to follow up - from August 2013 to May 2018 to be exact - and that sends me all the wrong signals. Did I enjoy it? Yes, on reflection I probably did. I do love a good horror novel. Did it go on a bit much, like a Mozart opera or Kubrick's film AI? Too right. Is it worth reading? Well, every book is worth reading, to some degree, and those who prefer their vampire stories more 30 Days Of Night than The Vampire Diaries would probably get a kick from this. I never ever want to discourage anyone from reading a book and forming their own opinion (unless it's Sebastian Faulks) as that would be illiberal. Also, it would be unfair to the author who (probably) survives on generosity of spirit and readerly patronage. So have at it horror fans. It's likely much better than I make out, but then there has been far too much beer and wine since and I fear my drowned synapses have locked me out of my memory palace.

*All this being the pursuit of intertextual connections, the delight in reading, and the smugness that comes from being able to report to YouGov surveys that I read more than 21 books a year.


How's about that then?

Metaliterature - what meaning to have is this for meaning?

Not a review this time, more of a curiosity. It seems I'm receiving lots of hits from Russia (Здравствуйте России!) from people searching for the definition of "metaliterature". As such, it is something of a bespoke word, created to fit a need and probably not yet recognized outside literary theory / criticism circles (Merriam-Webster Online certainly don't like it). I was wondering what they typed in to end up here, so, for fun (it's not fun, sorry) I thought I'd bung it in Google Translate and see what came out. As it turns out, one needs a little hyphen for the rather ponderous machine to understand it, and even then only does half the job (meta seems to be meta in any language). 
Incidentally, below is, ironically, a Google Chrome Thesaurus definition* of "meta":

met·a Adjective/ˈmetə/
(of a creative work) Referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referentialInterestingly (not interesting, sorry) it says this for the full term, t…

Breakfast Of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

In days gone by, when repeatedly pressed about what my favourite book might be, a banal question seeking an impossible and crude reductionist answer to which I was usually rude in response, I would offer Breakfast Of Champions as a pacifier. 

I first read it in University, and it has, to some degree, influenced how I think and feel about a lot of things. Strikingly, I've never wanted to re-read it. Perhaps I was afraid I'd find fault the second time around and wanted to uphold it as a paragon of meta-fiction. Perhaps, but then I'm a relentless consumer of fiction and was always on to the next consumable work, never having time or inclination to go back.

So in the spirit of a more considered and thoughtful phase of my life I decided I wanted to read something that once made me feel good.

I'd clearly not remembered it very well.

But before that, I'm amazed I've gone *mumbles* years without once mentioning Kilgore Trout in my reviews, even in passing. The same goes fo…

Fup by Jim Dodge

If there was a comfort-food version of a book for me, then this would be it. It's funny, touching, humanistic, and features so many quotable quotes that its trim 120 pages could be represented in its entirety on some such authors' quotations page.

We're introduced to Tiny on the occasion of his mother's death, lured into a treacherously fatal situation by, of all things, a duck, while her 4-year-old son sleeps in the car where he wakes to a terrifying solitude. Meanwhile, we're treated to a potted but entertaining history of Granddaddy Jake, Tiny's grandfather, into whose care by fair means or foul (no pun intended) he is finally placed. But the titular Fup duck comes along only once Tiny is fully grown (and how!). A lost and lonely duckling, much like Tiny, she's discovered shivering in a freshly dug post hole, which betrays the attention paid to it by Tiny's nemesis, a wild hog called Lockjaw, who enjoys tearing up Tiny's fences just as much as he …

To Say Nothing Of The Dog by Connie Willis