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some books - Astrobolism!

About some books

Previous Entry some books Dec. 15th, 2009 @ 11:32 am Next Entry
Been reading rather more than writing this month. As I approach the end of the draft of my novel the words are slowing, some kind of literary asymptote, though hopefully not literally. So I probably won't finish till early next year, eh. But I have read some good books!

Finch by Jeff VanderMeer. Several years ago I wrote about VanderMeer's imaginary city Ambergris that it could support Victorian-era stories of art and madness as well as noir mysteries, and this last is precisely what Finch is, a kind of warped noir fiction that isn't so much black as dark gold and green and orange. Enough blurbs inside the front provide examples of its being some kind of infernal mash-up of fantasy and mystery, so I won't go there, though I could. Instead I'll simply say it's excellent, probably the best book I've read to combine elements of those two genres.

Total Oblivion, More or Less by Alan DeNiro is also fantastic, about a kind of surreal apocalypse which brings about all manner of peculiar change in the Midwest, which makes the setting sparkle, as old useless items become precious, the Mississippi deepens, and cities mutate, but what makes the novel really great is how it follows one family through all the blood and confusion. A combination of the outré and homy, a favorite of mine, I suppose. I guess that I, again, don't want to say much more, just that you should probably read this.

Those two are new, but I also read two older novels, Cold Skin by Albert Sánchez Piñol and Intoxicated by John Barlow. The first was like a literary version of a survival horror game, and I mean that in the best possible way, hordes of attackers, a secluded shelter to defend, running low on ammo, philosophical consideration of the nature of the attackers, a twisted love story... The second is a work of slightly alternate historical fiction about the creation of the world-famous soft drink Rhubarbilla. Like two other of my favorite novels, Martin Dressler and The Road to Wellville, Intoxicated is a book about zeal, zeal at its best and at its worst, though here the details of the setting are slightly fizzier and stranger, fitting perfectly a story about addiction and invention and redemption.
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