Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Links for the next meeting - New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

Wikipedia is surprisingly sparce - just a few lines of background and a synopsis of each story.

City of Glass was turned into a graphic novel in 1994. It's quite easy to see why this would have worked as a GN more than the other two. You can buy it here - currently £5.48.

A collection of reviews on a Paul Auster fan site

From Amazon - A five star review:

"The NewYork Trilogy is that rare thing, a book that will continue to haunt you long after you put it down. Though the three stories it contains are structured and inspired by thriller novels, the work is essentially a meditation on the art of writing. It draws a parallel between a private investigator having to watch the person he has been hired to spy on and a writer attempting to create and capture a life on the page. All the central characters in the three stories hit a black wall at some point, where they feel unable to penetrate through to the subject under their observation. Auster captures this limitation of writing beautifully. This is a gripping, dark and completely original piece of work. Certainly a twentieth century classic. I shudder to think that I was nearly going to pass it over."

A one star review:

"I am not sure which I found more perplexing, the novel or its ecstatic reviews? Three stories based in New York with the thinnest of threads apparently connecting them. The first is a chapter long pontification on Paradise Lost and The Tower of Babel. The second is a pinch me it's Tarantino collection of Mr Blue, Mr Black and Mr White. The third raises crime literature hopes with 'The Locked Room' title but then does nothing to deliver. This is the first time I've read a book and then felt I should read it again; not for pleasure but because I'm sure I've missed something. As a review to help potential readers I am afraid I am truly at a loss. I struggle to come up with any kind of synopsis, quotes or insight. I read it, I really did, all of it, waiting for something to happen. Is that the point? In Star Trek there are often storylines where the crew have their memory erased. Nothing at all can be remembered for a period of minutes or even hours and then life goes on totally unchanged either for better or worse. That's The New York Trilogy."
(You've got to love that Star Trek reference at the end...)

Monday, 8 March 2010

Solar by Ian McEwan

We (generally) loved Atonement, and we (generally) hated Saturday...

Do we dare try Ian McEwan's new one Solar (when it's out in paperback)?

It does sound promising:

"Michael Beard is in his late fifties; bald, overweight, unprepossessing – a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. Trading on his reputation, he speaks for enormous fees, lends his name to the letterheads of renowned scientific institutions and half-heartedly heads a government-backed initiative tackling global warming. An inveterate philanderer, Beard finds his fifth marriage floundering. When Beard’s professional and personal worlds are entwined in a freak accident, an opportunity presents itself, a chance for Beard to extricate himself from his marital mess, reinvigorate his career and very possibly save the world from environmental disaster."