Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Salon

The Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone! Right now I am in the process of slogging through all fifty prologues of The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel) by Macedonio Fernández. It's been some slow, slow work. Fernández is a great writer, no doubt about that, and brilliantly inventive (he was, after all, Jorge Borges's mentor), but Lord is he difficult. We're talking deep, deep, mind-bending metaphysical stuff here.

For my time-off moments from Fernández I've also been reading the first book of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I originally started it sometime when the movies were still in theaters but couldn't get into it. I'm not a fantasy person at all but I feel like this is one of those Books You Must Read Before You Die.

I do need to get Fernández done, though. Some of you may recall that I had a review published by The Front Table back in December. They recently contacted me again and I'll be getting a copy of Monika Fagerholm's The American Girl! Here is what Publisher's Weekly had to say:
This third, unusual novel from Fagerholm (Wonderful Women by the Sea) is a hypnotic coming-of-age story that hinges on a dark but powerful bond between two Finnish girls growing up in the swamplands of outer Helsinki. Born to jet-setter parents, timid young Sandra finds strength by clinging to obstinate, wild-eyed Doris, who is no stranger to dysfunction herself: her mother has a hundred thousand excuses for beating her daughter. The two begin to obsess over an unsolved death that haunts the town. Making up games in abandoned pools, basements, and the muddy marshlands, the girls dress alike and begin to form solipsistic creeds, such as the belief that suffering has developed a hidden power in us that makes it so that we can see what no one else sees. The fractured work can by trying—there's no straight chronology, and sentences are frequently appealingly off-balance (kudos to Tucker for the slick translation)—but Fagerholm's esoteric prose and her omnipotent narrator's eye bring to life a world of ambient longings, cryptic memories, and ethereal figures.
I cannot wait for this one. It'll be my second Swedish book after John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In. But I wonder why it's called "The American Girl." That's very odd.

And last but not least, my very best news:

I have found a local book club.

Right now we're reading Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, which I already read over the summer. Still, it's been great revisiting it and hearing everyone else's thoughts. Of course, I also participate in The Good Books Club online, hosted by Padfoot and Prongs. Book #3 for us is the play Rozencrantz and Guilderstein Are Dead, which we'll be discussing in our chatroom on the 28th.

So - right now: get through The Museum of Eterna's Novel!

Update: I completely forgot it was Valentine's Day! Happy Valentine's Day everyone!


Pour of Tor said...

Oh, I am filled with book club envy now. I wish that I could find a good one in my new town.

Re: The LOTR trilogy. I remember finding them a bit of a slog myself, even as I was enjoying them. They have the sort of dry, Anglo-Saxon dignity that Ursula K. Le Guin's novels also possess. This makes them... I think I am going to say "gratifying to finish," because they are fascinating, rewarding reads without (in my opinion) being easy to call "enjoyable."

Emily said...

Congrats on finding a book group! I had a great one with some friends from college, but alas, it broke up when a key member moved out of town. :-( That Swedish book sounds fascinating; I look forward to your review.

Frances said...

I am unfamiliar with your current reads but YAY! that you found a book club. Great to have cool people to discuss books with - in person. Happy reading!

Richard said...

E.L. Fay, does the pending arrival of another Scandinavian novel mean you'll be spinning some more gothic metal for us again sometime soon? I'll be prepared this time!
P.S. Punk/garage rock > all metal, ha!

E. L. Fay said...

Pour of Tor: Yep, "dry, Anglo-Saxon dignity" certainly sums up LOTR, doesn't it? You can tell he was an Oxford professor just by reading his novels. Woolf had that same Britishness but it was softened by her boundless creativity.

Emily: I'm sorry your book club broke up! Maybe you can still meet online, like we do in the Good Books Club?

Frances: They really do seem like very cool people. I can't wait to go back tomorrow.

Richard: There is already PLENTY such metal on my blog for your perusal under the "Music" category. But if I can find a particular song or two that goes with the Fagerholm book I will be happy to post it. (But no more black metal, I promise. Opera IX is the only band in that genre I like anyway.)

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