Sunday, November 30, 2003

Whirlwind of a weekend, with not a minute to write. I finished reading Old School (see post of November 25).

I'm in a terrible quandary as to what to read next. I have an advance reader's proof of The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard which just won the National Book Award. The book was literally pressed into my hands by a sales rep at the New England Booksellers Association trade show last month. After reading about twenty-five pages, I'm questioning whether I want to proceed. With the fluidity of Wolff's elegant prose in my memory, the opening pages of Hazzard's novel hit me like jumping into a pool of arctic water. Her prose is dense and heavy. One must concentrate on each and every sentence to derive the full meaning. This can be a worthwhile pursuit, if the ideas follow a logical progression and the story manages to go somewhere. I've leafed through the book, hoping for a glimmer of hope and am so far not sure that this is the book for me right now.
I just opened the book to select a random paragraph to illustrate what I'm getting at. In less than five seconds, I found several. Here's one.
"Indoors, a foyer whose beams and architraves might bring down the house was floored with gritty terrazzo and seared with light. Another, huger strain resounded with Occidental boots and voices, and with the high speech, soft or yelping of young Western women, astonishing because unheard in many months. They glanced at the new arrival climbing among them, and women noted a durable man." book please.
So I've picked up Reunion by Alan Lightman. Opening chapter, aahhh...much better.
Stay tuned.


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