East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ten favourite novels of the Nineties

Countless hours of reading and thinking result in this: two Franz K. namechecks and a Timberlake joke.

1. Kazuo Ishiguro, The Unconsoled: Not simply a dream, nor an imitation of Kafka: for one thing, Ishiguro surpasses the master; never has impossible geography so aptly explicated the workings of memory. Or -- people will talk in this town.
2. Norman Rush, Mating: The most sophisticated treatment of a love relationship since the Second Wave. Or -- if I gave you utopia, would you page me on the regular?
3. Philip Roth, American Pastoral: Achieving the American Dream is un-American. Or -- sorry about the twentieth century, hope you'll like the next one better.
4. Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower: It delights you with description as it makes you cringe at Romantic insensibility. Or -- Austen 3:16.
5. W.G. Sebald, The Emigrants: As Basil Fawlty knows, you can only not mention the war for so long. Or -- sorry about the twentieth century, hope you'll like the last one better.
6. Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: Not simply a dream, nor an imitation of Kafka: I mean it's funny. Or -- oooh mysterious girl, I wanna get close to you.
7. Walter Mosley, A Red Death: Probably a little high, but this stands in for the whole Easy Rawlins series, a bunch of detective novels that give a marvellously detailed landscape of Watts from the Forties through to the Sixties. Or -- of Mouse and men.
8. Andrei Makine, Dreams of My Russian Summers: Not always insightful but extraordinarily vivid. Or -- if Russia's so great why don't you go live there oh you did.
9. J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace: As good as the lecherous old English prof genre, now accounting for 90% of all fiction by middle-aged men, gets. Or -- yeah, it wasn't a great century for South Africa, either.
10. Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon: OK, I haven't finished this one, but the 800 pages I read from my sister's copy were rather rollicking. Or -- nerd candy.


40 favourite songs of the Nineties, #35: Carlene Carter, "I Fell in Love" (download)

Prodigal daughter goes down home, stays down home, stays prodigal. Whatcha wanna do that for?

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