Tuesday, November 11, 2003

if you like pina coladas...

The other night while I was sitting in the Orpheum watching a show, I suddenly had this thought--as far as I could tell, completely apropos of nothing--"Boy, remember The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay? That was sure a good novel." I had read it almost exactly a year ago. So then, the next day, I grabbed it off my bookshelf in the RV and started reading it. And, indeed, it is really a spectacular novel. It has the kind of prose that doesn't bowl you over but every so often you think, wow, this is really good prose. It's also remarkably consistently good prose. I can be really micropicky about writing and hold grudges against authors for one subordinate clause that I didn't like. I'm about three-fourths of the way through, and I don't know if I've hit anything that I've regarded as a clunky misstep. (Okay, now that I think about it, there is this scene involving an explosion at a bar mitvah where I don't think he handles the 'action sequence' part of it very well.) But the real kicker is that it combines such great prose with this really meticulous and clever plot. It's in the genre of intendedly artistic novels that can be read as drawing their coherence from taking a single evocative phrase/theme/idea (in this case, "escape") and then crafting a plot that allows for its exploration from every conceivable angle. Anyway, I have to get to work now, but you should read it.

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