Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I finished reading „Bel Canto“ by Ann Patchett on the train today. All in all it was a little too sugar-coated for my taste – the discovered friendships, unlikely loves, the pervading beauty of every damn thing…. And the purported passion surrounding one of the most important elements, opera, was unconvincing. It felt largely like a vacuous prop to be honest, like rattling off a list of arias.

But the writing was decent and I decided about a quarter of the way through I shouldn’t be too hard-hearted (and the book aimed to soften the petrified heart). I should just try to enjoy it, which, following my snobotomy, I guess I did. But I don’t think it was a marvel of modern literature, or that it deserved the PEN/Faulkner award. I took a look at the list of PEN/Faulkner award winners and have to say those I’ve read were in another league.

Finally, the end asked too much of me in terms of plausibility. Not to be mysterious. If you read it, you know what I mean.

Or maybe you loved it. My mother did, which is why I read it at all. My mother begs me to read certain books. That is her word, beg… “I am begging you, please, you have to. . .” It is hard not to try to comply once in a while. Still, she just read another Ann Patchett book about a magician and I’m going to have to tell her I’m passing on that one. . . She also loved “The Kite Runner” and whatever that writer’s new book is. I got a very long begging on that, but my snobotomy only goes so far...


Charlene D. said...

I didn't care for Ann Pratchett's Run which I picked up earlier this month. She's got some saccharine going on and she pops these little 'nasty' pills on occasion that just don't hit home because everything else is like gauze and illusion over a Victorian summer day. Okay, that's obtuse, but you get what I mean?

SarahJane said...

i very get it!

Pam Hart said...

Stay true to your snobotomy values, esp. when it comes to the Kite Runner and his new book, neither of which deserve any hoopla. And thanks for your thoughts re short stories.

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