Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Notes on recent readings

I read two short books during this last month that I feel I need to mention.

First, I read Saturday by Ian McEwan. Before I comment, let me say that I was mesmerized by Atonement - an intense book by McEwan that was well-researched and quite compelling. And I should also say that his book Amsterdam was one of my favorites. So I suppose I shouldn't expect greatness to hit three times. I liked Saturday, I just didn't think it was McEwan's best novel. His writing, as always, was breathtaking, even when he was describing highly technical neurosurgery details. I don't even mind that there was very little plot. I did mind that the plot seemed a bit too pat and too coincidental. A good read, but not, in my opinion, his best.

The next book I read was Everyman by Philip Roth. I am ashamed to say I hadn't read anything by him, and I thought this might be a good start, since it is short and recently published. I won't dismiss any of his other books because of this one, but I must say it wasn't one of the finest books I've read. The writing was amazing, the characters were well-rounded and real, and the details were nuanced, but it was essentially plotless and a little depressing. I enjoyed reading it, but I think I need to try one of his more famous books. If anyone has a suggestion... ?

1 comment:

fenimore said...

Of course the best-known since "Goodbye Columbus" has been "The Human Stain," recently made into a big-time Hollywood film. But I liked "The Dying Animal" as much or more than Stain -- it's similar, about an aging college professor. But it's shorter and more intense.