Thursday, May 03, 2007

Apocalyptic reading

Quite depressing really. But The Road by Cormac McCarthy has stuck with me for months, since I read it on the airplane coming over here. Just sad all the way through. The unredeemably bleak picture of where we might be heading. Children of Men, by P.D. James, by contrast has the feel of light fiction. The situations and pontificating are so awkward that you don’t constrantly aware of reading, but as usual with James, the story moves along in such a compelling way that you skim your way the end anyway. Ask yourself, you the literature reader: there are not 100 people out of 14 million in Burkina Faso who are reading this quality of fiction. Should that be allowed to continue? Isn’t it our obligation as reading humans to get another 900 up there, and then to look forward to reading a Burkinabe author’s take on the world… I remember when I first was introduced to Cuban literature (Lezama Lima, Severo Sarduy, Cabrera Infante) in high school and college… OHMIGOD it was so good, so sophisticated…. Tsitsi Dangaremba’s Nervous Conditions… a book to wait a long time for, and savor over a weekend. Coetzee- my mother and I discovered his work about the same time: writing that makes you re-read sentences three or four times, just for the sheer enjoyment of the phrasing. “Precise,” Amos Oz says about Teacher Zelda. Enough!

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