*edit* To the dissenting commenter: I’m sorry, I deleted your comment, since I thought it was a bit of a personal attack on me (whom you don’t know) on account of an opinion about Peter Temple’s book that was not up to your snuff. Please feel free to comment about why you might feel I’m wrong about the book, but refrain, if you will, from calling me childish names. Thanks.
Well. I don’t, really. I was really glad to come back to my waiting Wisconsin city, which currently is enjoying a blustery day more worthy of March than the end of July, to find my cayenne pepper plant doubled in size in the pot on my balcony, to get iced coffee and to sing along to 70’s rock while I mopped my floors and washed mirrors and sinks this afternoon.
I read two (and a half, but I’m not writing about books I haven’t finished) books over the trip, mostly on the 4ish hours of plane flights. I finally finished book four of The Dark Tower Chronicles, by King. A seven-hundred page book is always a good bet when you’re flying cross-country.
Having finished Wizard and Glass, I think I am beginning to see King’s genius. This series is so complex, so rich in its own culture and myth. This book tells a story, within the greater story of Roland’s ka-tet of Jake, Eddie, Susannah and Oy, of Roland’s young ill-fated true love, Susan Delgado. While King’s over-description makes for a somewhat R-rated love story, it was intriguing, and it wasn’t just the just the 3-hour flight to Santa Ana that kept me turning pages feverishly. I was as obsessed as the young Roland, made of steel as his ka with Susan plays out, and as he shares the story of his deepest soul wound with his travelling companions. I don’t understand how King manages to write stories with such a strong common thread when he wrote them over such an extended time. More marvelous is his deft use of pop culture woven gently into the story, a story that pulls nearly as hard on our imaginations as on that of the ice-eyed gunslinger.
The other book I read was The Broken Shore, by Peter Temple. Don’t waste your time. I thought that I was just tired, just a little delerious from the time-difference and mind-bending work issues. I could not follow the short broken sentences that were supposed to represent conversations, the constant parade of new characters, barely introduced before they became obsolete again, their place in the rushing torrent of story given to yet another passing player. I found this book to be violent, full of terrible language and horrible back-stories. The violent murder happens in the first 20 pages, but then we spend 150-170 pages following what feels like a serious bunny trail about two young aborigines killed by police during an arrest. We have no idea what’s going on, then suddenly, there’s a second murder, and in the last 50 pages, everything finally starts to come together. I did not enjoy the bloody ending. This book was not worth my time. Trying to figure out which minor character might potentially be important wasted more time than I should have given this. I would say this is the first Nancy Pearl recommendation that bombed.
So now…I have a stack of children’s novels to wend through this weekend, along with the O. Henry short story winners from 2009. We shall see. First, I need to sleep. Maybe work out tomorrow.