a few recent book buys

This won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. I loved Arthur & George, and liked Flaubert's Parrot, and Love, Etc., so I have high expectations for The Sense of An Ending.

Kjell Eriksson's The Princess of Burundi and The Cruel Stars of Night were both strong page-turners. The third in the series featuring police detective Ann Lindell, The Demon of Dakar, was kind of a drag (as in it dragged and I didn't finish it). I'm hoping this is more in keeping with the first two books in the series.

I know, the cover is a little too cheesy mystery. But... the premise sounds entertaining and it was a pick on the 2011 Booker longlist. And, I admit, I love a good Victorian-era mystery, à la Crimson Petal and the White, Misfortune, and Fingersmith.

“Extravagantly entertaining . . . One of the great pleasures of this novel is how confidently [Paul Murray] addresses such disparate topics as quantum physics, video games, early-20th-century mysticism, celebrity infatuation, drug dealing, Irish folklore and pornography . . . Six hundred sixty-one pages may seem like a lot to devote to a bunch of flatulence-obsessed kids, but that daunting length is part and parcel of the cause to which Skippy Dies, in the end, is most devoted. Teenagers, though they may not always act like it, are human beings, and their sadness and loneliness (and their triumphs, no matter how temporary) are as momentous as any adult’s And novels about them—if they’re as smart and funny and touching as Skippy Dies—can be just as long as they like.” —Dan Kois, The New York Times Book Review
“The success of The Line of Beauty meant that Alan Hollinghurst’s next book was surely going to be eagerly anticipated. But the seven-year wait for The Stranger’s Child and the steady unfurling of its ambition over the novel’s 435 pages has had another effect too. It has dawned on people that Hollinghurst, the gay novelist, might also be the best straight novelist that Britain has to offer—that is, the writer whose talents sit most comfortably within the contours of the form. . . . The Stranger’s Child stands comparison to Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections for the way that the sweep of the narrative, its simultaneous flicker of comedy and drama, is matched and sustained by the precision and the leisurely economy of its individual sentences . . . The Stranger’s Child spans almost a century. And here, too [as in his previous books] sex opens up the novel, though the thing unlocked is not the small, cloistered world of Edwardian privilege but of all English literary history. The book’s sections are linked by two houses that, in their different ways, stand witness to social decline: Corley Court, a Victorian pile, home of the aristocratic young poet Cecil Valance; and the more modest Two Acres family home of George Sawle, his friend, and lover, from Cambridge. With [this] novel Hollinghurst imaginatively insists that our literary tradition would be unrecognizably depleted without the submerged current of homosexuality. And that The Stranger’s Child itself is the culmination of not only Hollinghurst’s ambition but that secret literary tradition to which it is addressed. It is a claim that is hard to dispute.”
—Geoff Dyer, New York Magazine

How about you? Any books you are dying to read?


Aralena said...

This list is dreamy!

The Stranger's Child, definitely. The Line of Beauty was devastatingly good.

Melissa said...

I'm going to add Derby Day to my list. I'm very excited to read Joan Didion's new book.