Arukiyomi's Progress Year 12: 2018
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...you are in the grip of a storyteller
who is determined not to reveal
his full hand for some time.
#524: Everything is Illuminated
...just the start of his criticism
of the morals of his day... he’s just
limbering up with this one.
#525: The Woodlanders
...those of us who sympathise
with Flory can occasionally feel
like replicating his final desperate act.
#526: Burmese Days
... a study in spousal neglect
... when a husband and father lives
with his head in the clouds.
#527: The Man who Loved Children
... characters who are a just
far enough removed from everyday
reality to actually relate to insanity.
#528: Hallucinating Foucault
I can’t think another novel this year
will be as powerful as this one when it
comes to the desire to simply make it stop.
#529: The Savage Detectives
Achebe gives voice to the people
of the Igbo tribe as only he can.
#530: Arrow of God
... forefront in her mind could
not have been the need to construct
a novel that actually holds together.
#531: Daniel Deronda
It’s almost as if Dickens had a
window in time through which
to study Trump for inspiration.
#532: Martin Chuzzlewit
...the best way to approach it all
is to lie back and drift in the stream
If novelists are to deserve a voice,
priority should surely be given to novelists
who tell stories of the forcibly silenced.
#534: Of Love and Shadows
... far, far ahead in terms of both
its influence and the esteem with which
it is (still) held in its home country.
Many regard Portrait as James’
greatest novel. What they mean by this,
of course, is that it’s the easiest to read.
#537: The Portrait of a Lady
... an infinite number of chimpanzees ...
would probably form a committee to ensure
they never randomly produced the rubbish
that is Great Apes.
#538: Great Apes
... cram packed with the fevered wanderings
of a protagonist whose own fate he fumbles daily.
... doesn’t really do anything
she hasn’t already done before.
#540: There but for the
... suffers from readers having
to suspend belief that anyone can
remember events years ago in
anything like the detail depicted
#542: The Secret History
... exploring the crises that occur
in the minds of men who are too old
to have earned a mid-life crisis.
#543: Rabbit, Run
What I do know is that
I have no clue what it’s about ...
#545: Pale Fire
... here we have people
whose existence is entirely pointless.
#546: Rabbit Redux
... while Updike can write great prose,
he turned his skill to rendering lives that were
entirely unworthy of our focus.
#547: Rabbit is Rich
... mourning, separation and loss which
William Trevor’s prose paints perfectly.
#548: The Story of Lucy Gault
Nothing to see here people. Move along.
#549: Three Trapped Tigers
... a great many lessons here that
we still have not yet learned
#550: Eclipse of the Crescent Moon
... so true to type that the Disney version
has every villainous Turk speaking
with a British accent
#551: The Untouchable
This is not a novel for those
who like to have everything told
them up front. This is a slow burn.
#552: Slaughterhouse Five
... so short, so deceptively simple,
so (frankly) bonkers and yet so very relevant ...
#553: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
... foundational to literature in the same way
that Leviticus is foundational to Holy Scripture:
#554: The Holder of the World
... what Mukherjee lacks in her ability
to write she also lacks in her ability
to construct a coherent novel
... what life is like when you can’t help but
colour every one of life’s narratives with
the same shade of pink.
#556: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
I can’t think of a better place to
start with Joyce. I’m sure that’s
exactly what he intended.