A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
100 pages in and it is hard to miss that this isn't just a nominal sequel to Wolf Hall, but rather the first book's logical annex. There is no drop-off in complexity. No laxity of language. Still Mantel manages to shift form, change structure and reinvent her style. She even manages to give the character of Thomas Cromwell more depth and complexity, a feat which seemed near impossible after finishing Wolf Hall.
Anyway, Mantel is one of the finest writers of English prose living. Each sentence is crafted like a unique piece in an Italian inlaid music box. She has a purpose for each comma and can make words seem to dance, fall and recover right off the page. She pulls the history out of the history and has written Tower interrogations so deft and chilling, one is left afraid of both language and the law. As readers, we watch Cromwell destroy men, overthrow queens, and change history with words, paper and a sharp understanding of men's motives. We aren't afraid because Cromwell is a monster, but because he is so heroically human.
Let's just get this out in the open -- Michael Chabon is an amazing prose stylist. Occassionally, I imagine I can grow up one day and become a writer, then I read Chabon and I recognize just how HIGH that hill can be. His dexterity with the English language borders on magical. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is at once playful and soulful.
Listening to AAoK&C, I was reminded of Saul Bellow's ability to dance with language while also keeping the novel briskly centered on its well-paced story. Chabon's characters are boyantly alive, cinemagraphiclly painted, and infused a with dialogue that seems to require a high level of stereophonics (all enhanced by Colacci's amazing reading).
Even in comic books, good doesn't always win over evil, but it seems like with Chabon love still conquers all. A fantastic novel to view the 20th century through. Chabon expertly captured the colors, smells, and magic of New York. Anyway, Kavalier & Clay is a world I don't ever want to escape from.
It is amazing how McCarthy can find the lyrical beauty in an absurd gout of hallelucinationatory crazy. Absolutely one of my favorite novels of all time (nearly stripped McCarthy's Blood Meridian of its bloody title). Reads like Steinbeck wrote a play based on a David Lynch film about a nightmare child of Fellini and Faulkner that is now worshiped as scripture by pimps, prostitutes, grifters, fishmongers and of course fishermen.
At times Suttree hits me like a complicated musical chorus, a surreal painting, and a ballet of misfits and grotesques, all chopped up and swirling in a dirty river's refuse. I won't look at a summer watermelon with the same degree of innocence again.
If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.
This is a sprawling, weird novel consisting almost entirely of dialogue. I usually follow audiobooks by leapfrogging with a paper copy which I read when I have time. This novel is actually easier to follow on audio, since Nick Sullivan does a very good job giving each character an idiosyncratic accent. On the page it can easily become just a sea of words.
As a novel it's certainly not for everyone, a withering critique of American capitalism told mostly through a little boy's farcical creation of a virtual financial empire made of leveraged purchases of bad businesses, with a frustrated writer and an aristocratic beauty the only ones who can see through it. It's also a bit of an historical artifact, giving us little bits of life in 1970's New York and Long Island. But it's a classic of 20th century American literature, sort of a cross between Ulysses and Doonesbury.