23.3.05

Reading (or the lack thereof)

There's nothing like Googling oneself to throw up stuff I'd forgotten I'd written, like this review of The Blind Assassin:
The Blind Assassin begins boldly, introducing three interwoven narratives: the narrator's present life interspersed with memories of her once wealthy family, alternating with excerpts from her sister's science fiction-inspired romance novel, both tied loosely together by newspaper clippings. The heart of these stories is Laura --- living in this world yet not of it, with her ingenuous disregard of reality, who "had the attitude of listening ... but you could never tell what she was listening to". It is no wonder that the novel opens with Laura's death: she haunts the narrator's memories. Atwood's deftness balances the reader evenly between present and past, fact and fiction, Iris and Laura --- but ultimately her management is too careful, too cultivated. Though this novel succeeds stylistically, it leaves the reader wondering how Iris was so neatly obliterated --- or perhaps, that was the point.
(The requirement was to keep the review to 150 words, which I did so religiously.)

Now if only I had the time to read again ... My previous 45-minute train commute to work has been replaced with a 12-minute walk/5-minute bus ride/10-minute walk routine, and so I hardly ever read at all. In comparison to the books I breezed through the past two years, all I've done so far in the first quarter of the year is a rereading of the first five chapters of Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty.

Yes, a rereading, because I started it last year, failed to finish it due to end-of-year laziness and holiday festivities, and now I have to go back to the start again to give the book a fair chance. Meanwhile, Julian Barnes's The Lemon Table, Elaine Showalter's Inventing Herself and another nonfiction book that I can't remember the title of right now are waiting in the wings.

I need a vacation.

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