Sunday, April 07, 2013

Quick takes on recent reading

Book 45:  The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists from Granta

Compliments to Granta, a British literary journal, for its Winter, 2012, issue featuring The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists.

Wish I could recommend the issue, I can't. Maybe its cultural. Maybe its the translations. Perhaps its me.  Whatever the reason, few of the stories featured here left much an impression.

Among the best of the short stories was Still Life by Vinicius Jatoba.

Book 46: Interventions by Richard Russo

Interventions, three stories and a novella, by Richard Russo is notable for form and content.

Russo and his daughter, the artist Kate Russo, designed the this book, which is actually four small paperbacks in a slipcase, as a tribute to the printed book. A color print of a Kate Russo painting is bound into each volume.

This is the first publication for the novella, Interventions.  Both short stories have been previously published; Horseman in The Atlantic and The Whore's Child in Russo's short story collection of the same name. High and Dry, which sees first publication here, later appeared again in Russo's memoir, Elsewhere

The short stories and novella are well-written pieces and Interventions is a lovely addition to any collector's bookshelves.

Book 49: The Antagonist by Lynn Coady

I disliked this novel from Lynn Coady, which is meant to represent a series of angry emails from one college chum to another.  

Because the text doesn't read like an email or resemble an email, the reader never accepts the author's initial premise. Combine that with a thoroughly unlikeable narrator and this book is a massive dud.

Book 50: Paris Review Winter 2012

If you can still find a copy of this literary journal at your local newsstand pick it up. From the interviews to the short stories, it is a rich and rewarding read.

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