2009.09.21 the week in books
News + Thoughts
Monday, 21 September 2009 18:49
a great week for reading.
started out with a belated return to the work of don delillo with his 9/11 novel, FALLING MAN. he acheives mightily but unobtrusively in depicting the utterly changed values and valuations within and between people in the face of catastrophic events. the whole book feels bruised, stunned. it's a brilliant piece. also has a lot to bear on a musical project i'm in the thick of, kenneth fuch's FALLING CANONS, a set of seven canons for solo piano based on the musical theme/leitmotif in his piece for tenor and orchestra, FALLING MAN, with texts incisively distilled by j.d. mcclatchy from the delillo novel. the FALLING CANONS are masteries of craft and character; a piece of depth and breadth. i'll be recording them in a year or so, and meanwhile, they'll begin to appear (as will more pieces of new music) as break-pieces on From the Top broadcasts. i'll play one of the canons soon in salt lake city.

god is the voice that says, "i am not here."

a first-person tale of a driver/savant, andrew vachss' THE GETAWAY MAN may have set a new standard for stripped-down prose, narrated by a largely illierate yet, savant-like, born to drive, a life spent largely incarcerated, a disaster not too long deferred. truly essential noir reading.

a hypnotic first novel by brett ellen brock, THE GRAVE OF GOD'S DAUGHTER is a coming-of-age story entendrilled with a mystery, set in a destitute milltown at a tortuous bend in the allegheny river in 1940. it reminded me of joe r. lansdale's THE BOTTOMS, but only because of the preteen detectives common to both books. the writing style, in particular brett's evocation of catholic guilt as a driving personal force in this poor polish family, is beholden to no one. a really fine book.

and most recently, and most spoilingly (!), another of roberto bolano's novels, THE SKATING RINK. if you've never read bolano, this is the novel i would recommend most heartily. it's short, but gives you the sense of all his writing as being a place where anything can happen, and does. one can get lost plunging into 2666 or THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES. THE SKATING RINK is a great book, and a great introduction to his work.

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