But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
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.
“Not a word, not a word of love, Perhaps, she thought, he does not love in the ordinary way. God loves us, after all, He manifests it in cancer, cholera, Siamese twins. Not all forms of love are comprehensible, and some forms of love destroy what they touch.”
After devouring 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring Up the Bodies', I was ready for another Mantel. 'Fludd' is a small, tight irreverant novel about God, belief, love, faith, innocence and knowledge. There were segments of this novel where the threads of the narrative disengaged so much I was almost ready to drop the whole novel, but then Mantel would use that loose line to wrap the prose of the next couple pages around my head and choke me.
The novel was filled with amazing characters: a parish priest who no longer believes in God, but still believes in the Devil; a eczema stigmatitized nun attracted to her guardian angel (or devil?), a gang of bitchy, spiteful nuns, and the title character who might be an alchemist, an angel or a devil or all of the above. With 'Fludd', Mantel explores the silent and understated boundaries between faith and modernity, between innocence and knowledge, between good and evil.
While, for me, this didn't hit as hard as her last two novels, it was worth the read to see her early efforts at historical and literary inversion. Mantel is brilliant when she is crafting an uneasy story that flips your assumptions about history, morality, good and evil.
An interesting narrative about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. The title comes from the SS phrase: "Himlers Hirn heisst Heydrich" ("Himmler's brain is called Heydrich"). Instead of telling the story as a straight historical narrative, Laurent Binet weaves himself throughout the main narrative. It becomes in parts a contrived post-modern mediation on truth, fiction, and the author. I want to give Binet points for trying to create a novel that possesses gravitas, is interesting, is tense, but also isn't traditional. Throughout the novel I was cheering for Binet like I was cheering for Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis, but while Binet takes huge risks with this novel he just doesn't cleanly land his bold quadruple H.