Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving break

I have three books to read and five days in which to read them: The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie, Netherland by Joseph O'Neill, and, it seems eternally, A Prayer for Owen Meany (last 100 pages).

I started Netherland this morning and it does ring of The Great Gatsby. Looks like most of the action is going to take place in Staten Island instead of West or East Egg, and maybe instead of Gatsby's parties we'll be reading about cricket matches. I'm only on page ten, but already a dead body has floated up on the scene, though in a canal instead of a swimming pool. Anyway, I'm excited about the book! Here's a snippet:

"The day was thick as a jelly, with a hot, glassy atmosphere and no wind, not even a breeze from the Kill of Kull, which flows less than two hundred yards from Walker Park and separates Staten Island from New Jersey. Far away, in the south, was the mumbling of thunder.It was the kind of barbarously sticky American afternoon that made me yearn for the shadows cast by scooting summer clouds in northern Europe, yearn even for those days when you play cricket wearing two sweaters under a cold sky patched here and there by a blue tatter - enough to make a sailor's pants, as my mother used to say" (7).

I can't help including this review on the back cover because who knows when I will get a chance to write my own:

"The wittiest, angriest, most exacting , and most desolate work of fiction we've yet had about life in New York and London after the World Trade Center fell...I devoured it in three thirsty gulps, gulps that satisfied a craving I didn't know I had...It has more life inside it than ten very good novels." ~ Dwight Garner, The New York Times Review of Books

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster

Loved it! Here's my favorite quote. For any die-hard ping pong players or Klingensteiners out there - this one's for you:

"I quickly learned that Stanley doesn't play the kind of Ping-Pong I'm used to. The paddles and ball are the same, but in his hands it isn't a polite parlor activity so much as a full-blown, strenuous sport, a demonic, miniaturized form of tennis. He delivers his serves with a devastating, unhittable topspin, stands ten feet back from the table, and counters every shot I make as though I am no more skilled than a four-year-old. He beats me three straight times - 21-0, 21-0, 21-0 - and once the massacre is over, there's nothing I can do but bow humbly to the victor and drag my exhausted body out of the barn" (181).