Between my best beloved Molly dying suddenly and Hillary losing the election to a cat-hair-covered cheeto someone found under the couch and ate anyway, it has not been a good fall for writing or reading, unless you count endlessly refreshing 538 and breathlessly reading each new article about Trump’s cabinet of horrors. But here are some things I read, anyway.
*Concrete by Thomas Bernhard – Both funny and harrowing.
*My Struggle, vol. 1 by Karl Over Knausgaard – This was so intriguing. I think it had something to do with the merciless clarity which which the narrator sees himself. I don’t want to sound bitter, but I feel like if a woman had written a novel this long about, essentially, the frustrations of housekeeping and dealing with your annoying, dysfunctional family, it would not have been such a THING. I bought volume 2, though, so I am a fan.
*The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan- Perfectly frothy and delightful.
*Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter and Lolly Willowes: or, The Loving Huntsman by Sylvia Townsend Warner – two of my favourite short story writers didn’t produce two of my favourite novels. Oh well. You can’t be good at everything.
*Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xialong – This was so interesting from a cultural POV, but also I wish this book had been edited more competently.
*The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux – no thanks.
*Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt – Mansour and I both read this, and we both liked it a lot. This book has been a real inspiration to me to follow whatever weird imaginative thread I want in my writing.
*Silence by Shusaku Endo – a book entirely devoid of hopefulness. Worth it despite that.
*In Trouble Again by Redmond O’Hanlon – This was fun!
*The Vegetarian by Han Kang – Read this. Now. At once.
*Senselessness by Horacio Castellans Moya – I also thought this was great, and I felt like it belonged on the same shelf as Concrete. That shelf is something like ‘misanthrope goes on an absurd trip, witnesses the tragedies of others.’