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Finally something to read. I’ve had a bad summer of reading. Aside from the mongraphs (that I’ve complained about already….) I’ve had a particularly bad streak during the last month or so. Said streak has included, among other forgetable works, Jose Saramago’s Death at Intervals and (somewhat randomly) Will Ashon’s The Heritage. The former is truly terrible – it takes magical realist corniness to a new level, a seemingly endless thought experiment that never quite breaks the barrier of interestingness. The latter was just sort of dumb – it pretended to be a relatively high concept dystopia, and that’s what the reviews implied too, but mostly felt like I was hanging out with the kids I see on the bus to and from Finsbury Park everyday. Though I take it that I’m supposed to like it, I must admit that Chris Petit’s Robinson hasn’t been all that much more pleasurable to read, as it’s a slow drip hangover sort of book, even if it’s not without its redeeming moments and atmospherics. Perhaps it’s the right book at the wrong time for me, too close to the bone or not close enough.

But now, finally, something I actually sit down at night with pleasure to. Helen DeWitt’s The Last Samurai, which is interesting, and at work I’ve been reading the full (tho pictureless) version of her YOUR NAME HERE in pdf, part of which you might remember was published in the last issue of n+1. I found my way to her blog via a comment that she left on this post at Owen’s site, and she seems to be a reader of, well, my friends’ blogs…. All marks in her favor.

Anyway, it’s good to have something to read again. If only it wasn’t basically fucking August and time to start reading, you know, the stuff I have to teach in the fall… (including, yeah, Bleak House, which I skipped when we covered it in grad school, and which, yes, I have to tell a lot of 19 year old kids all about in a few weeks…)

I’ll have more to say about DeWitt in the next few days, I’m sure…

Written by adswithoutproducts

July 30, 2008 at 11:51 pm

Posted in novel

3 Responses

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  1. I’ve been reading Helen’s website and blog for the past 2 hours or so, and am very much impressed with the way she thinks.


    July 31, 2008 at 5:22 am

  2. I loved The Last Samurai – it was definitely one of my favorite books published in the past few years.


    July 31, 2008 at 11:04 am

  3. That’s a shame about the Saramago book…. I think some of his stuff is first-rate.

    And I must chime in with a vote in favor of The Last Samurai. Also one of my favorite books in recent years.


    July 31, 2008 at 12:46 pm

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