Saturday, 28 July 2007

Pre-holiday Murakami and Holiday Amis

The weekend before leaving for Melbourne, I sat myself on the couch and read After Dark by Haruki Murakami. In the past I've enjoyed The Elephant Vanishes and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, so I was looking forward to it. It's a very short novel, but this was great because it meant one afternoon with a scotch or three was enough to immerse myself AND finish it, which is a rare thing for me these days (am I getting slow? old? is life just too busy? are distractions like TV and the internet shortening my attention span? - anyway, I digress). I thoroughly recommend After Dark, I truly felt it, and the 7-hour timeline was refreshing.

And then, there was more Martin Amis - this time, Money. I started this on the plane to Melbourne and continued reading in Bali. I didn't read so much over the holiday though, so it took me quite awhile to get through. It is a bit of a disjointed read, comprised of so many short scenes that it's easy to keep putting the book down rather than continuing to plow through. Quite the opposite of After Dark.

John Self, the central character of the book pleads that he's after our sympathy. Well, he's got mine. Idealistically, we should probably despise him, but he's just too adorable in all of his piggery. And I'm sure we all identify with it on at least some shameful level. This book is brilliant. I realise I'm coming to it two decades too late, and I have found critical comments on the web saying that the book has lost some power over time, and that it's hard to read this without referencing other 80s books focusing on materialism such as American Psycho. I disagree though. The 80s might be behind us, but I don't think materialism is, and I certainly still think this is a book worth reading. For me, the sweetest moment in this book was having Martin Amis himself consoling John Self with a roll of toilet paper after they watched the royal wedding, and saying "Keep a grip on it. Don't worry. Everything's going to turn out okay in the end".

So what Next for me? It's time for some light reading. Today I accidentally realised that the next Thursday Next novel has been released, so I promptly made the purchase.

until next time,

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