Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, March 23, 2007

TC's book talk

Have any of you read Anne Tyler's newest, Digging to America? (Or have any of you, like me, listened to Digging to America?)

Here's the thing: I really enjoyed it. And that was a huge surprise to me, since I haven't really enjoyed anything of hers since Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant which was, what, written in 1982, I think, and which I read soon thereafter. I'm not sure what I've objected to since then...a certain triteness of plot, a certain distance from characters, a certain...I don't know what. (And there you have it: the reason I never became a book critic.)

This book started out that way, and stayed that way for a little while, and then, all of a sudden, it shifted. It became about something entirely other from what I'd thought it was, and that something entirely other was a lot more interesting to me. There was still a triteness to the plot--or, rather, maybe more of a pat-ness, a bit of unreality seeping in--and not all of the characters really came alive for me. But it still caught me up, and I don't entirely know why. I'm hoping that maybe one of you will have read it, and will have something to say about it that captures what I can't seem to right now. It was not, at all, a Great Book, nor even one I would rush out to tell others they must read. On the other hand, I would recommend it. It was better than I'd hoped, and I didn't like seeing (hearing) it end.

[As for real-life, paper-and-paste books, I'm currently reading Joyce Carol Oates' We Were the Mulvaneys, and it is absolutely breathtaking. Painful and lyrical and one of the best examples of 'voice' that I've had the pleasure to come across in ages and ages and ages. If only I could find more than a few pages' worth of time each day to savor it.]


free hit counter