Thursday, June 01, 2006

Not as Smart as I thought I was

I had a few spare moments today (we all, after all, need to "use the potty"), so I thought I would start one of my new books. I am, as you all know, an insufferable snob about fiction. I can hardly stand myself. I mostly like literature as opposed to, you know, what normal people read. Popular fiction. Don't get me wrong, I read the occasional "book for the beach" but what I really like is a good literary novel.

So, I started reading Europe Central. I read, in fact, the whole first chapter. And all I can say is, whoa. What the heck? I have no idea what is happening. As near as I can tell the author is setting up a metaphor in which there is a switchboard somewhere that you can listen in to what is happening all over the world during World War II (Or, as I like to say just to tick everyone off, World War 2). Then I started looking through the book for some dialogue and I couldn't find *any*. EIGHT HUNDRED AND THIRTY-TWO PAGES and not a single line of dialogue. Well, actually, there is quite a bit but it appears the author has an aversion to quotation marks. One probably "bit" him when he was a child. Oy vey. I am not cut out for this, I thought to myself.

So I decided I would try, instead, Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Now this is more like it! It's accessible and funny (I laughed out loud twice in the first ten pages or so). I'll let you know how it turns out, if it's worth a read all the way to the end. And, I'll set "Europe Central" into that pile for books I intend to read when I live in a foreign country and have limited choice and unlimited literary patience.