I don’t think there was that kind of beauty in Gilead. I go through an internal diagolue war about whether or not I like Marilynne Robinson’s writing because Housekeeping was breathtaking but Gilead and Home weren’t quite there. Or at least that’s my humble opinion.
Have you read Housekeeping?
No, I haven’t. But that passage shot it to the top of my wish list.
Housekeeping is by far the better book. And if you’re currently on a Winterson kick, I’d highly recommend it. Not nearly so over the top, but Housekeeping is gorgeous. Lush and muted at the same time.
Hey there! That’s actually a great tip, I may try to pick it up this week then because I really am on a kick and most of what I have lying around isn’t working for me right now.
As far as the meta-narrative trope, I’d recommend Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting , any number of Vonnegut (Timequake would be a great start), William Maxwell’s So Long, See You Tomorrow (stunning), Borges’ Collected Fictions (I learned more about Lit Theory from reading Borges than Eagleton ever taught me), Crowley (The Translator or Little, Big and Didion (wry, wry stuff…, but you can’t go wrong with some whose collected works is entitled We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live…
And it seems I can’t close a parentheses to save my life.
Ah, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is one of my favorites! I should pick it up again; it’s been years and years… and Borges, Borges. I only have a tiny collection here and clearly need more. Your other recommendations are wonderful, this is the second time recently I’ve heard good things about Crowley from someone I tend to trust.
This is a phase I go into and out of semi-regularly and there is just so much good stuff. Thank you!
I’d try some of Markson’s literary fiction, too, if you haven’t already. (I only see the two reviews so far).
If you want to kick, go for Wittgenstein’s Mistress.
I’m still looking for someone to discuss some Steve Erickson with… With your Libertarian leanings, you might dig Arc D’X.
Barring that, you might just run through short stories.
Though that would be a rundown that I can’t take up at 3 am.
Yeah, the Markson litfic I’ve read was pre-blog, though that reminds me I’d like to do more of him and also some more Robert Coover.
Steve Erickson is is a new recommendation for me…looks interesting.
I think short stories, in general, are the real love of my life, and I think I’d like to do some sort of project along those lines some day.
See, these are the reasons I feel I need structure…there is just so much…
The Believer on Steve Erickson. He’s, at the very least, an “interesting” author. He reminds me a lot of Philip K. Dick, if that makes any sense. Arc D’X is something of an alternate history, though parallel history might be the better term, examining a world where Jefferson didn’t exist and the intersection of freedom and hedonism. I think. There’s a lot going on there. Magical Realism/Slipstream/Mash-up…
As for structure, I’m not sure what to tell you… It’s funny, but in the year or two after my father died and I left my options trading gig, I had weeks where I was burning through a 2-3 books a day. Even if one can carry those sort of numbers on indefinitely and rack up 1200 books a year, that’s still just a drop in the bucket.
Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Satanic Verses, The Things They Carried (the title story from that one’s an excellent meditation on signification), Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues (listening)…
For what it’s worth, though I loved Housekeeping, I consider Gilead one of the great novels of our time (meaning, oh, the last 15-20 years). Home wasn’t quite at its level, I didn’t think, but still worth reading.
"As is quite clear, the enchanter interests me more than the yarn spinner or the teacher."—Vladimir Nabokov