Thursday, September 16, 2004

Holiday reading round-up rodeo

Twenty word reviews (and star ratings out of 5) for the finest holiday reading a man could beg, borrow or buy second hand from friends, European hostel bookshelves or English village bookstores.

William Gibson, Pattern Recognition – Imagine a new form of cinema. Fragments of some melancholy dream posted on-line. Would you seek out their creator? (****)

Ian Rankin, Hyde & Seek – Edinburgh’s Inspector Rebus is the only one concerned over a junkie’s death. Literary crime drama examining human nature’s darker corners. (***)

Michael Innes, Death at the President’s Lodgings – a 1930s locked-drawing room whodunit, set in an Oxbridge college, where paranoiac academic antagonism turns out to be the butler. (** ½)

Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections – on each re-reading the children who are so desperate to escape their parents seem more a complex amalgam of them. (*****)

Jack Kerouac, On the Road – the original literary road movie follows Dean Moriarty, First Saint of bop, beat and madness, into the post-war American night. (*** ½)

Robert Graves, I, Claudius – Roman Empire seeks CEO, madness no obstacle, being murdered by your grandmother a potential downside. Longevity goes to the underestimated. (****)

Stephen Fry, Paperweight – the comic shorter writings of a terribly funny comic, particularly wonderful are the assembled radio ravings of Professor Donald Trefussis. (****)

Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises – unsympathetic (but charismatic) characters inhabit taught, beautiful sentences under the Spanish sun, while self-destructing through apathy and alcohol. Good fishing. (****)

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