If I Could Just Get It On Virtual Paper

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Cannibal Galaxy, by Cynthia Ozick

Having read and delighted in Cynthia Ozick's Heir to the Glimmering World, I thought I would pick up another of her books to give a look. Ozick has been fairly prolific both in the realms of fiction and non-fiction, and The Cannibal Galaxy, published in 1983, was her first full-scale novel in 17 years. It's an exceptionally erudite book (as was Heir to the Glimmering World), but I really didn't find myself connecting with it until the final 30 or so pages. I was ready to give the book a C until that point, frankly.

It's certainly not that Ozick isn't a skilled and thoughtful writer. Her ideas and concepts can be daunting, in fact. Still, I appreciate her sharp wit. The problem is that this time around, it feels like Ozick is poking fun at her very readers, and not in a nice way. Perhaps I'm wrong and her real target is faux-intellectuals who have no real desire to grow and develop, but it didn't feel that way. Even so, since I sometimes feel as she does in certain regards, I understood.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Book Four: Saturday, by Ian McEwan

For anyone who ever cried at the prospect of reading a painstakingly detailed novel, Ian McEwan's Saturday will not be a great selection. For that matter, none of McEwan's novels would be a good choice, as he immerses himself into the environment about which he is writing and graphically illustrates that world. In Saturday, that world belongs to a neurosurgeon whose Saturday becomes eventful fairly early on when he has a car accident with some thugs.

Frankly, the plot of the book is fairly immaterial to the overall experience of reading Saturday. I know that is strange to say, but I speak the truth. While the plot that interweaves main character Henry Perowne and his thug Baxter is the backbone of the novel, Saturday is really about how we experience all of our days since the events of 9/11. He thoughtfully posits that we will never look at an airplane flying through the sky in the same way again (it's true). There is that constant fear that we will turn on the television to something catastrophic. Even the news channels have adjusted their programming to this notion, with the crawling scrollbars at the bottom of the screen that are ready to announce BREAKING! NEWS! AT! ANY! MOMENT! It's a devastating reality.



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