Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fringe Benefits

Almost everything I'm reading at the moment is related to stuff I'll be teaching next year. And that's more than fine by me. In fact, since all the reading involves re-reading, strictly speaking none of it is necessary. Essentially this is all for pleasure.

I'm now racing through Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha having completed Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things in double-quick time yesterday. Keeping up the pace is my way of grasping the totality of novels that I know too well from close analysis - which is, in turn, a way of staying fresh. It works for me, though given the imaginative verve of each of these novels it'd be difficult to conceive of any kind of reading not working.

Just as a matter of interest, Ms Roy's novel seems to me the most extraordinary one-off. Assuming she never writes another we'll be left to wonder how everything came together so perfectly this one time. I'm puzzled over the way she seems to be regarded as some kind of derivative Rushdie-clone in certain quarters. Her single novel is so obviously superior to anything he's done, partly, though not simply, because it has heart as well as intelligence.

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