Friday, December 16, 2011

The atmosphere of orthodoxy is always damaging to prose, above all it is ruinous to the novel, the most anarchical of all forms of literature.

I think that we should just ban golf altogether. Geilston Bay High School, Geilston Bay. November 2011.

Another couple of books finished this week, as I slowly make my way to the magic to the magical 100 for the year (I am currently sitting at 98*).

First up is Bodily Secrets by William Treevor. A slender collection of short stories by a fine writer, the collection revolves around the theme of relationships (and yes, ‘love’). At once tender and taut, it is a great little book that covers the whole gamut of emotions. Recommended.

Second up is Nobel Prizewinner Imre Kertész's Liquidation a very Central European dose of introspection that mixes quite radical departures in style (there is a a text-within-a-text-within-a-text) and some pretty heavy intellectual chicanery in the way that it constructs its existential dilemma in the face of the existence of Auschwitz.

There is a fair whack of self-reflexivity here, as once again Kertész mulls the weighty shadow of the camp that he spent part of his childhood. This is an intensely postmodern piece, fragmented to the point of distraction and filled with an incredibly morbid sadness. You can't help that the author is an incredibly unhappy man, unhappy in the way that constantly asserts that happiness is not actually possible. The immediate post-Communist Hungarian setting (and dark shadow of the Holocaust) adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere.

Not for the faint-hearted.