Reading Diary: Feb. 19-Feb. 25

918lz8piowlVoices, by Nick Coleman: An exploration of the pop and rock singers whose sound has meant something to Coleman, an established music journalist. They’re not necessarily the most technically adroit or conventionally beautiful voices, but they’re the ones that have connected somewhere deep in his gut. His writing is both off-the-wall (the first chapter includes extended musing on a putative race of post-apocalyptic ant-men and their likely reaction to the music of Elvis Presley and Little Richard) and effectively personal (there’s a beautiful section on watching a friend have a panic attack to the sounds of Joy Division). Really worthwhile – now I have a playlist.

9781784742553The Snakes, by Sadie Jones: An impressively sinister slow-burner of a novel about a couple whose plan to take a few months out goes immediately awry when they visit wife Beatrice’s brother Alex at his non-functioning hotel in France. Jones is terrifically, and terrifyingly, perceptive on the emotional claustrophobia of wealthy families, on the warping effects of dishonesty in a marriage when both partners come from very different social backgrounds, and on the frustrating culs-de-sac of  French bureaucracy and law. The ending explodes in completely unexpected violence–which will divide opinion–but I think it’s a brave authorial choice. Also, it’s impossible to put down.

Currently reading: Memories of the Future, by Siri Hustvedt, the only autofiction I’ve read that, so far, isn’t making me obscurely want to punch someone.

13 thoughts on “Reading Diary: Feb. 19-Feb. 25

  1. Having been drawn in by all Sadie Jones’s previous novels, and disappointed by all of them, I’ve vowed not to read anything else by her, but The Snakes does sound intriguing!

    1. I haven’t read any of her earlier novels, but I’ve read reviews of them, and the impression I get from The Snakes is that it’s a real step up in terms of sophistication and complexity – so maybe this’ll be the one that works for you…

  2. I am so glad to hear you liked The Snakes – I have a review copy as well but haven’t yet gotten around to reading it as my reading has been rather erratic lately. But I am super intrigued by the book!

  3. Interesting to see that you enjoyed the Sadie Jones. I’ve been in two minds about reading this as The Outcast left me cold, although I know I was in the minority with that opinion.

    Glad to see you’re enjoying Memories of the Future.

    1. I’ve never read any of her other books, but I get the feeling this is a distinct step up, in a different league from the rest of her work.

      Just finished Memories Of the Future and it is wonderful. Really moving.

    1. It was the first of her books that I’ve read and it does seem quite different from her others; for one thing, it’s set contemporaneously, which may make a difference.

    1. It’s very attractive, isn’t it. The American cover is ever so slightly different in a way that totally baffles me – the snake is a different shade and the woman’s face under it is turned to the side instead of head-on. Do they do focus groups or something?!

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