As you all know by now, WHIRL stands for What Have I Read Lately. Sometimes I read a book and I don't have time to post at length about it, but I don't want you to miss out on a really good read. So I WHIRL and tell you just a little bit about what I've read lately. But you should know--often these are some of the best books I've read in a long time. Here goes:
The story takes place in a snow-laden village where everyone pretty much knows everyone else's business. Or so they think. Katri Kling, always brutally honest and ferociously protective of her younger brother Mats, has earned the villagers fear and respect. Caring nothing for anyone but Mats, Katri sets out on a relentless mission to secure his future. And so they befriend Anna Aemelin, a children's book illustrator who sees the world as she paints it--full of lovable, fluffy bunnies.
What happens to these individuals as they get closer to each other makes for a thought-provoking and page-turning read. I was very grateful for Ali Smith's introduction, which I read after I finished the book. Her insight into the novel gave me much more to ponder than I would have done on my own. It was like being in a Literary Masters book group!
Senselessness by Horatio Castellanos Moya. Wow. What a book. I want others to read it so I can talk about it with them, but I hesitate to have my Literary Masters book groups read it because it is, how do I say this, not for everyone. It's a short, dense book, and I know it will stick with me for a while. I look forward to reading more from this author.
His fear turns into paranoia, but what do paranoid people say? "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get me." Perhaps that's a clue to this book, which is alternately hilariously funny and horrifically shocking.
This is, without a doubt, one of the best books I've read in a long time.
The Privileges by Jonathan Dee is also an excellent read. This is similar to Carol Edgarian's novel Three Stages of Amazement in that it follows the lives of two people who decide to grab their piece of the American Dream, but with vastly different results. I found this novel very literary in how it is crafted, and I would love to discuss that aspect of it with a Literary Masters book group, but even if you read it on your own, it's a terrific story. Very compelling. The kind of book I couldn't wait to get back to.
I really enjoyed it. Many themes are in it that will surface in other Roth novels, and I even thought about picking up The Finkler Question, a book I disliked, again. Something in Roth reminded me of the best bits of Jacobson...
WHIRL (What Have I Read Lately) Books is a site for readers to find books for themselves and their book clubs. Liz at Literary Masters runs book groups and literary salons where we "dig deep" into literary treasures.