Sunday, March 18, 2007

Reading Week

On Thursday I came home knackered. Within minutes the sleeping bag was dutifully bundled on to the sofa, the ashtray was at arm’s reach, as were fags, lighter and bottle of water. A snack of veggie pate and marmite on toast lay on my belly. The socks disappeared down the end of the sleeping bag to migrate to that place where right socks live and I was settled. I was not going to move until I’d finished the book...

And it would have been nice if the story had ended like that but unfortunately life has a way of intervening and instead I found myself dismantling an IKEA desk at record speed while swearing profusely (it speeds up the process) and loitering around in the street waiting for a delivery man to arrive...

And then I got back to my sofa... and finished the book.

So the first book I finished this week was The Child in Time by Ian McEwan. As you read it’s as if he is pulling a noose of words around you tighter and tighter until all your senses are stretched to snapping point, hyper aware of everything the characters are going through. McEwan drops hints of reprieve, then pulls out the ground from beneath you, leaving you falling and gasping.

On returning to awareness all is calm again although there is a sense of pent up frenzy building up, of mistrust. Can McEwan possibly lead you to a satisfying joyful conclusion?

The last pages of description are so lyrically graphic that you can almost feel, hear and smell the scene beneath your fingers and then it is followed by the final full stop.

It’s over; you have experienced the protagonist’s breakdown and slow renewal.

As I was surfing blogs recently I remember catching sight of Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve. The blogger had described it as the best YA fiction they had read recently and I remembered that when I went to get some books from the library recently that Claire had pressed this book into my hands. After half tidying my desk I found it below Fear and Trembling by Amelie Nothomb (I’m half wondering whether to read it in French so haven’t started it yet). Anyway, the metro journey wasn’t long enough for Mortal Engines; I was still reading it as I trundled up the stairs at my stop. It’s a thrilling story set on the future Earth warning us of our self-destructive tendencies. There’s adventure, some cool characters and a nice look at developing young lurve. While I loved the story line, I wasn’t too sure about the device of using present tense for certain characters. And also in the thrill of the story’s breakneck forward thrust, I kind of got the impression that some of the characters were inconsistent or that parts of the plot hadn’t been followed through sufficiently. Still it was a ‘thinking’ book, which gives it a thumbs up in my book. Mmm... I see there are a whole series of books. Oh I’ll have to check those out.


david santos said...

Hello, Virilion!
This work is very good. Thank you
Good week

Susan Abraham said...

Hey you, V.
I've answered your comment on your lion's expression. Go read. :-)
Enjoyed this post.
I guess where reads are concerned, it's more or less, each his own.

Verilion said...

Hi David, thanks for dropping by. I wish I could read Portuguese! He he Susan. Yeah true about the reading being very personal, although I have friends who have the same kind of taste as me so I always take their advice.

Minx said...

I think David Santos may be a human kind of spam!

Verilion said...

Yeah... I kind of noticed that in my surfing last night! I also saw all the cool pics in your side bar and realised who it was who had recommended Mortal Engines! Completely misquoted you as well!

apprentice said...

I love McEwan's book. My favourite is Saturday.

i hate that, when you're all prepared from some lovely R&R and life intervenes yet again.

Lee said...

I like your 'noose of words'. McEwan's a terrific stylist, isn't he? Have you seen the excerpt from his new novel on Guardian Books?

I'm going to show David's blog to my eldest son, who speaks Portuguese.


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