On my way to Ch***** School yesterday, having volunteered to run the cloak room for Quiz Night, I see a dead cat on the pavement. One of of it's eyeballs is hanging out. I absolutely know it was hit by a car not bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat by a Ch***** student. 'American Psycho' springs to mind. A nasty book written by a nasty man (Brett Easton Ellis) but with a sense of humour. The two are not incompatible. I would only ever read this book to examine the craft of writing. And then only once as it is so poisonous.
Another book about nutcases is 'Human Traces'(Sebastian Faulks). My definition of a good book is that you wish you'd written it. The man has a mind like a Victorian library, full of musty reminiscing. Hallucinating history. Yes there is imagination - but it is rooted in the vernacular. Yes, flashes of visionary brilliance but they are deeply conservative. It's an endlessly corduroy astounding feat of fogeyish intrigue. Very educational factually but there's a lot of it. Rather puffed up and schoolmasterish. And no, I don't wish I'd written it.
I probably wouldn't invite these two to a dinner party.....
Minimal but startling is good. Ann Enright is great for this. Energetic, surprising - often poetic. Minxish and life affirming. I would happily to do an egg on toast for her and for Ernest Hemingway....should he be wandering this way. Looking for a cat or some other dumb animal to shoot.
So, keep reading folks. Books don't crash like computers.