Alive and reading
Posted July 19, 2008on:
To break through my marvellous summer blogging block, let’s have a look at what I am or about to gobble up, shall we? (I have a zillion half-finished 1,000 word drafts molting in the dashboard, not to mention literary magazines (print and online) languishing in neglect. Pathetic.)
I bought a pile of Peepal Tree Press books earlier this year one of which is published in conjunction with the Calabash Literary Festival we all know and love. I’m still with Jamaica’s first literary vanguard so I started with John Hearne’s Voices Under the Window. It’s a nice step forward after reading Rachel Manley’s book about her grandparents because Drumblair endsright around the time when Jamaica was moving into the black power movement and she (being of lighter skin) discovered it difficult (being of lighter skin) to make a place for herself. Her grandparent’s legacy in Jamaica’s fight for independence turned out to be an albatross. Hearne, as Kwame Dawes wrote in the novel’s introduction, was in a similar position because of his skin colour and his neglect to pen a suitably political novel to reflect the times, according to his detractors. Beyond that Dawes makes much of Hearne’s flashback technique and how it shapes the novels over-all structure and influences one’s reading. I’m curious to see what I’ll make of it.
Northwestern University Press is currently my favourite press because of the Pierre Jean Jouve in its blacklist. Paulina 1880 made the start of my year amazing and I’m expecting similar wonder here. I don’t even knowwhat The Desert World‘s about yet, but Lydia Davis is the translator (w00t!). Ugh, if only she could have translated all of Proust for Penguin.
Still with Adam Bede. My reading here has been rather distracted after an earnest start so I haven’t had anything thoughtful to blog about here or mention over at The Valve. Anyway, the other participants have rather l33t close-reading skills so colour me mostly a bystander in this experiment. Not that George Eliot is encouraging me to be much else. I’m more of Rich Puchalsky’s mind so far — I’m partial to all the character’s Eliot does not think much of and more or less wearied of that magnificent country paragon Adam Bede and the saintly Dinah (who God should please love so much that he takes her to her heavenly home so that I don’t have to abide anymore of her perfect preacher letters). Mrs. Poysner is my favourite so far if only because one minute I think she’s rather horrid and the next minute the best thing Adam Bede has going for it. Here Eliot is unable to lay hold hard enough to my moral rudder in order to establish what I ought to feel about her. Blergh.
What’s currently on your reading plate? And is your summer going well?