Archive for December, 2011
Haruki Murakami doesnâ€™t lend himself to easy categorization. Though his prose is spare, almost styleless, itâ€™s more supple than muscular, and though his stories are often occupied with mundane domesticities, theyâ€™re also often founded in the surreal. Itâ€™s no surprise, then, that Murakamiâ€™s long-awaited latest, 1Q84, isnâ€™t easy to shelf â€“itâ€™s at home among either fantasy, thriller or hard-boiled noir â€“ but one thingâ€™s for sure: this book is grotesquely Murakami. That is, quiet domesticity punctuates adventures tenuously connected to reality, and yet for all its faults â€“ and some have argued there are many â€“ this is a book that haunts you long after youâ€™re done, a book that, like a jealous lover, wonâ€™t let you move on.
I first read this 1997 novel (the sixth in Henning Mankell’s Inspector Wallander series) in 2004, and saw the television adaptation starring Kenneth Branagh last year. So the general outline was familiar; I even knew who the murderer was going to be. All the same, I read the book this time with just as much enjoyment as on the first occasion, and with even more appreciation of detail of its texture.
“This is not a book about the great Austrian physicist, Ludwig Boltzmann, nor, despite its importance in my life, is it about Antarctica. It is more about time and chance and the images and dreams we bring with us from childhood which shape who we are and what we become. It is about science and atoms and starry nights and what we think we remember, though we have made it up.”
Harry Bosch is the real deal. Michael Connelly’s THE DROP is another superb entry in this outstanding series about an L. A. cop who is cynical and battle-weary, yet still committed to doing his job.
Elizabeth Hay centres her superb, enchanting and deeply moving novel around Norma Joyce and sister Lucinda, her senior by nine years. Set against the beautifully evoked natural environments of Saskatchewan and Ontario, and spanning over more than thirty years, the author explores in sometimes subtle, sometimes defter, ways the sisters’ dissimilar characters. One is an “ugly duckling,” the other a beauty; one is rebellious and lazy, the other kind, efficient and unassuming… I