Odd thunderstorm early this morning, sounding exactly like garbage bins being rolled out. No sudden crashes or cracks, never got very loud, but woke me all the same and may account for my extreme tiredness and aches today, in spite of massage. Or maybe that was the rain that continued to midafternoon. Or maybe it's the sleep apnea I'm sure I have but don't want to know about.
Helprin, Winter's Tale
-- 'and I'm glad it's over'
Setterfield, Once Upon a River
-- a delight. With elements of Victorian melodrama that never read melodramatic, period atmosphere without period flourishes, enough fantasy to keep me happy: not so Victorian as to give me the grues that the period usually does in reality or in pastiche, not exactly modern either. Mhhh-- Green Knoweish, in its fashion.
Rutt, Korean Works and Days
-- Anglican missionary in a small Korean village in the 50s, describing, well, the works and days of the inhabitants. Very civilized and not noticeably prejudiced in any direction, except for his extreme dislike of female shamans, whom he thinks frauds, and his bland 'I can't see that Korean women seem particularly unhappy in their second class status- they run the households, and I'm sure they'd rather be noisily together in the kitchen than having to sit out front with the men.'
Hatsu Akiko, Rainy Willow 15
-- Hatsu Akiko is Hatsu Akiko, even when her stories are indifferent
Sleigh, The Boy in the Ivy
-- this is my October book par excellence, since I read it one rainy October in childhood. Was delighted to find a cancelled library copy years ago, and am now reading again with an eye to downsizing. 'Once more through all my favourites should be enough, and then I can abandon them.' (See Shadow of the Torturer). Yes, and well... it's the book I read 60 years ago, but even then I thought Tom, the male protagonist, was a bit gittish in his lordly superiority to the help. Now I know that Linwood Sleigh was a guy, Tom becomes an appalling little boy, and the presentation of the witches oddly echoes Rutt's attitude to shamans. Female magic = bad. Of their time, of course, but basically- get screwed, assholes.
Hackwith, The Library of the Unwritten
-- a bit of a letdown after Once Upon a River, since it's being modern tried and true fantasy rather than innovative whatever River was, but doubtless well enough once I've gotten into it. Not sure why it gives me Good Omens vibes, but it does.
Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
-- I wasn't sure I could read any more male Latin American writers, because even thirty-some years ago their attitude to women was off-putting. But a friend said Cholera had a different translator than the earlier works and the effect was night and day. And so it seems. I'm not sure if Garcia Marquez abandoned his page-long paragraph style or if his (female) translator was simply having no truck with it, but the effect is to make his language seem far more immediate than anything else I've read by him. This is a kitchen book, btw, read to get it off the kitchen shelves.
Dunno, but I really need to get back to Kafka. My s-i-l just bought the complete Les Miz in French, and proposes to read it through the coming (forecast cold and icy) winter. 'It's 800 pages, so if I read eight pages a day, that's a little over three months.' And of course she will. So if she can handle 19th century flourishes in French, I should stop being scared off by the high-falutin' kanji in an official report (by the American occupational army) and get on with the thing.