The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
An interesting read. So interesting I dog-earred a page and couldn’t remember why the hell I had done so. Thankfully, the second dog-earred page I came to had notes and it was just over half the way through. That said, Auster’s New York Trilogy is a great read overall. The three short stories connect well thematically and continue with Auster’s usual themes of loss of identity, loss of sanity, and the questions of disguise.
Time plays a role as well and how our perception of an event can be skewed when we reflect on how much time was involved with it.
The idea of writer’s as ghosts, from the second story – aptly titled Ghosts – is wonderfully explored and explained.
The third story, The Locked Room, is my favourite of the three I think because it is direct and there was less work on my part as the reader to decipher what exactly was going on. There were more parts in this story that I could relate to as well, so that probably has something to do with it.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go is beautiful. I have read many different reviews of this book some calling a masterpiece in subtle horror and others debunking that claim. All I can say is that, on the whole, this book is about the search for humanity. The idea of the human soul is explored and I love how Ishiguro relates the search for the soul directly to art. I’m not sure where – yes, I know I should probably research it – but I’ve heard that art in all its forms is the physical representation of the soul. This novel begs the questions, “What is the soul, and how can we prove its existence?” All the religious rhetoric and bullshit aside, the soul is simply the spark of life. Wherever this comes from I won’t hasten to guess and anyone who claims to know beyond a scientific explanation can do the long run off the short cliff, but I will say that Never Let Me Go examines the question(s) and takes up the conversation without making an ill-fated conclusion, because no conclusion is truly possible.
Ishiguro also captures emotion with precise perfection. I found myself feeling during the read. Those feelings were often mixed and like great art this book made me feel different things at the same time. It was an absolute beautiful bouquet of emotion.
Finally, this was one of those rare books that I didn’t want to end. Usually when a book is reaching its finale, things are wrapping up and the finish is welcome. When I approached the bottom of the penultimate page, I hope for another full one to follow. I was greeted with almost a quarter of a page and was grateful just for that.
Go and read this book. Now!
If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This by Robin Black
This collection of short stories is a slow build, but by the end I wanted more and more from each story. The shortest story, …Divorced, Beheaded, Survived, felt like it could have been the longest in that there was much more to explore, and I didn’t want it to end.
I felt that the overall theme of the collection was about loss, but to over explain I feel it was more like this: Nothing ends up like you thought it would but everything ends up like it should because that’s how it ended up. It is our ability to fill in the gaps between our expectations and reality – the one we create and the one created around us – that makes us who we are and determines our “happiness”, though happiness is fluid. In short, our happiness is determined by how much we fight accepting reality.
The book ends with one of the best descriptions of the fragility of life I have ever read. I won’t ruin it so you’ll just have to read!
Frankie And Johnny in the Clair De Lune A Play by Terrence McNally
This play was not what I expected but at the same time I can’t remember what I expected after reading it. It was far more explicit that what I would have expected and I enjoyed that because I feel it captures life, because life is explicit. I can’t remember what it was like in 1987 because I was seven but I assume this play was a bit risqué though not as much as I think it might have been.
McNally nails it overall but nails it right on its head near the midpoint and nestles inside the reader and audience member’s head with the dialogue and back and forth about “pardon my French”. Beauty job.
A side note: I watched the movie the next night and to say the least, it’s different. Some of what I read and pictured in the play holds up, but seeing as McNally also wrote the screenplay I wished he had keep more of the play to its form.
I want to see this produced on the stage!
April Preview: I’m going to finish The Savage Detectives and then read some other stuff. Not sure what yet.