Well, not much to report on the eye front, other than that they are still troublesome. So, for the moment I’m going to try and write one round up post a week just to make sure that I don’t lose touch with you all and give my reading time one day a week over to catching up with your sites. I really don’t want to have to drop out of the blogging world altogether.
Inevitably, what I read is going to have to be prioritised rather differently now. I don’t want to have to leave any of the three reading groups to which I belong either, and so those novels are going to have to come first each month. I just hope that not too many books that I’ve read before will turn up on the lists because re-reading is going to be a real waste of time. In fact, two of the three for November are re-reads. At least the first, Graham Greene’s A Burnt-out Case, which is for discussion tomorrow, is a book I read as an undergraduate, so a good long time ago. I wish I could remember more of my earlier reactions to it. I do remember being amazed (although pleased) that a Catholic college would set their students a book like this, which has a lot of disparaging things to say about a certain sort of religious observance. Coming to it a second time I’m not sure that it is as good a book as I remembered, but interestingly its themes do seem to be reasonably adaptable to any ideology and the author’s horror at the way in which the world re-writes an individual’s story to suit its own needs is as relevant to day as when the book was written.
The book I was in the middle of when I suddenly had to start to count the number of pages I could manage in a day was David Mitchell’s latest novel, The Bone Clocks. If you’ve read this you’ll know that it’s not the sort of book to read in small bursts if you want to have any hope of following what is going on. The plot is so convoluted and so intricately interwoven from one section to another that you really need to have a good run at it in order to keep everything straight in your mind. This is the first novel of Mitchell’s that I’ve read and I have to say that I enjoyed it very much indeed. Because I’m interested in structure the manner in which he divides his text up into what appear to be six separate sections only then to have them all run into each other in one way or another fascinated me. It is a high risk strategy, however. If you happen to come across a section that is written in a style that annoys you he does run the risk that you will put the book down and not go back to it. This very nearly happened with me where the fourth section was concerned. Had it been any earlier, I might just not have gone on.
Is there anyone reading this who is a real Mitchell addict? I heard an interview with him in which the interviewer seemed to suggest that in fact the interweaving is not just in each individual novel but that it carries through from one book to another. Is that the case, does anyone know? Certainly, there is a reference in this one to Black Swan Green, although it doesn’t seem to be anything more than a passing mention of the place and one character. If it should be so, then somehow I am going to have to find time to go back and read all the earlier ones just to see how he manages it.
Enough for today. Same time, same place, next week, I hope.