Posts Tagged ‘absurist fiction’

9th February
2011
written by Steph

Way back in 2010, I read a rave review of Orion You Came And You Took All My Marbles over at Hungry Like the Woolf. Better yet, Kerry was hosting a giveaway and I was lucky enough to win! Don’t you just love it when that happens? From Kerry’s review, I knew I was in for a wild and crazy ride, but this is the kind of book that defies description. The only way to understand what it is is to get up close and personal your very self. It’s the only way you have half a chance of appreciating the absurd, befuddling world that first-time author Kira Henehan has created. With books this good, simply hearing from someone else how good they are is a bit like having salt rubbed in a wound. I mean, I’d hate to steal all the fun of it from you. Talking to you about this book is almost like taking a picture of something amazing, like the Eiffel Tower, and expecting you to feel like you were standing at its base. Or perhaps even worse, it might be more like taking a picture of a picture of the Eiffel Tower, diluting its power even further. (more…)
27th October
2009
written by Steph
Prepare to be astounded...

Prepare to be astounded...

After reading Nanny Returns in its entirety so that I could review it for the December issue of BookPage, I was in the mood for something a little less fluffy and a lot more substantial.  I guess as I’ve been working on bulking up my brain to deal with Classics and other meaty novels, I’ve kind of lost my tolerance for the chick lit genre.  I used to devour those books when I was a teenager, but now I find them fairly predictable with underwhelming writing.  I guess my recent trend has been to turn towards a new genre – specifically mysteries – when I am in hot pursuit of plot-driven stories, and feel the need to put my brain on cruise control (a plan which Dorothy L. Sayers soundly thwarted!). Well, for those of you who are similarly inclined, I warn you that The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster is anything but a passive read.  This was my first Auster and pretty much my mind was exploding and combusting throughout the entire thing, while I was frantically scrabbling about trying to pick up the pieces and get back on the narrative train.  I have pretty much decided that there’s no way for me to summarize any of the three novellas/short stories that make up this work, as a plot summary would fall so ridiculously short of capturing the heart of any of these pieces of fiction.   Also, it would probably be misleading to talk about the things that happen in these stories, because I kind of got the feeling that the plots (such as they were), were really just excuses for Auster to write about… non-plot things. Ostensibly they are detective stories, only they are driven by internal struggles and contemplations far more than they are by external factors.  Anything that happens in any of them does so merely to act as a catalayst to murky pontification on a myriad of subjects.  These are stories in which the things that happen are often confusing and befuddling, and maybe only important insofar as they illuminate and shed light on other things. Within The New York Trilogy, I would say Auster touches on topics of language, authors and authorship, identity, religion, solitude, and in the process manages to toss everything you thought you knew about fiction and narratives on its ear.  There is tons of metafiction going on here, which can be discombobulating, but also really illuminating.  This is the kind of book that while I read it, I wasn’t convinced that I fully got what was going on, but I still felt like my mind was expanding and that I was certainly gleaning something, however intangible and elusive it might be, from it. (more…)