Nothing Is Invisible

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Posts Tagged ‘Contemporary Fiction’

Well – by Matthew McIntosh

Posted by the editors on Monday, 5 December 2011

Well (2003)(Novel)  By Matthew McIntosh    Well, McIntosh’s first novel, is a litany of vignettes of desperation, drugs, drink, delusion, disappointment, distress, disease, death and dysfunction.  There is no narrative line, as such, rather, McIntosh assembles, with a pointillist‘s touch, a canvas of dark greys, darker greys and blacks, painting an accumulative picture of the disarray of an assortment of, at best, working class residents of a northwest American strip mall suburban cultural desert.  In fact, Well, shows some promise on the part of McIntosh, though here, the voices of the characters are insufficiently distinguishable, and the repetition becomes tiresome.  The last third of the novel, in fact, is the most successful, where McIntosh ventures a bit further in voice and in narrative development.  Nevertheless, unless one is prepared to endure what one critic has optimistically called grunge meets Beckett, then perhaps it’s best to wait for McIntosh’s next novel, if one is forthcoming. (PR)

Note: The title, Well, refers not to well as in “doing well” but well, as in “at the bottom of a well.”

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Jazz, by Toni Morrison

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 24 November 2011

Jazz (1992)(Novel)  by Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye (1970), Beloved (1987), Paradise (1997) and others)   Pulitzer and Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison‘s magnificent jazz symphony of city voices and country hums, Jazz is a lyrical, moving, haunting novel, a multi-voiced human improvisation on love, fidelity and errancy.  Truly exceptional.  More than a must-read. (PR)

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Heliopolis

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 20 November 2011

Heliopolis (2009)(Novel)  by James Scudamore (Amnesia Clinic (2007))    Heliopolis, firstly, is not a science fiction or fantasy novel; in fact, the novel is named after one of the favelas in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and is the story of one young paulistano‘s adventures through contemporary Sao Paolo’s exotic cuisine, dense pollution, denser traffic, and extremes of urban poverty and wealth in his search for identity.  Scudamore has a deft touch for sensory description, be it food or environment, that is a pleasure to read.  Yet Heliopolis, his second novel, and long-listed for the 2009 Booker Prize, seems wanting: though the characters are interesting, their relationships are inadequatelydeveloped and the plot seems shallow and too “neatly” treated. (PR)

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The Ghost (The Ghost Writer), by Robert Harris

Posted by the editors on Friday, 18 November 2011

The Ghost (2007)(Novel) by Robert Harris     One could call The Ghost, Robert Harris‘s sixth novel, a publishing/political thriller, and, at least in the first part, an entertainingly cynical one at that, with sharply amusing comments on the state of contemporary publishing.  Once we enter into the more political part of The Ghost, however, with the introduction of some rather predictable stock characters, not to mention the CIA, torture in the form of water-boarding, the war in Afghanistan, the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and more, Harris’s novel becomes slightly less entertaining, and most critics took square aim, attempting to drop it in its tracks.  Nevertheless, The Ghost, went on to become an international best seller.  The Ghost will not be confused as “literature”, let’s be clear on that point; it is, however, an entertaining, and yes, a rather thrilling read. (PR)

Nota: Roman Polanski‘s, well-received and quite effective 2010 thriller film, The Ghost Writer (The Ghost, in the UK), starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, with screenplay written by Polanski and Robert Harris, is, of course, based on Harris’s novel.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Fiction, film, General, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible, publishing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Everyman, by Philip Roth

Posted by the editors on Friday, 11 November 2011

Everyman dj.jpg

Everyman (2006)(Novel) by Philip Roth (The Ghost Writer (1979), The Human Stain (2000), The Plot Against America (2004), Indignation (2008), and, of course, many other excellent novels)   In this wonderful, prize-winning, profound, deceptively simple, eminently readable novel by the great master, Philip Roth, one is offered an inside line on the overriding humanity of man, an unexceptional, even flawed, painfully forthcoming and sincere man, a man who has lived, as many of us have, a life of joys and errors, love and loneliness, which now comes to its end. (PR)

“‘There’s no remaking reality,’ he says, in words his daughter repeats over his coffin. ‘Just take it as it comes. Hold your ground and take it as it comes. There’s no other way.'”

See our posts: The Humbling, by Philip Roth, and J.M. Coetzee Reviews Philip Roth’s Latest Novel “Nemesis”

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Posted in Book Reviews, Books, culture, Fiction, General, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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