Feb. 7

Dora Bruder, Patrick Modiano

There is in the book only this: a sense that while walking the streets of Paris it is easier than it should be to forget that in that city were perpetrated crimes so great that they were not just committed against persons, but against all of humanity.

Modiano writes about the disappearance of a girl, and how little we know about her. He speaks also about his own father’s experience as a Jewish person in the time of the second world war. He compares his own experience of having run away from his home to that of a girl who had also run away, years earlier and in a circumstance more impossibly difficult. The way we remember these things is almost divorced from reality - because 

When we walk down roads, we never think about the other things that have happened on those roads. And so we let the horrors of the past fade into a murky grey stain on our thoughts.

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, Salman Rushdie

Rushdie's latest book is terrific for many reasons, but here's my favourite: it is a return to his manic, crazy storytelling that I fell in love with when I read Haroun and the Sea of Stories. There is no subtlety to Rushdie's satire in this book, but it's funnier for it. The entire novel is told, which is to say it is written in the style of a speaking person. In fact, it's written in the style of the kind of Indian speaking person that also characterises Midnight's Children. The first lines of that book contain that same wildness - in which the narrator seems to overwrite and clarify himself with every sentence.

"Oh, spell it out, spell it out," the narrator says in that book's first paragraph, so annoyed with his own inability to be clear that he admonishes himself even as he begins what is one of the most authoritative novels ever written.

I loved this book.

The Sleeper and The Spindle, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

Riddell's art is made all the more disturbing for Gaiman's words. Gaiman's words become all the more weird next to Riddell's art. Here's a fairytale worth reading.


Feb. 7 - Books 5, 6 and 7

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