Friday, February 3, 2012

Resolution Update #4.

Still reading, but falling behind on updating. I've finished three more books, two of which involved iguanas...

Golden Gate by Vikram Seth. This book covers the lives and loves of a group of friends and family in San Francisco in the early 1980s. One of them does, in fact, own a iguana. This book is, unusually, written in verse. Maybe it's the curse of the contemporary reader, but I liked the book more when I read it out of verse. I confess my poetry experience leaves much to be desired. The question you should ask as a writer contemplating an unusual execution is whether the story is big enough to sustain the technique. I'm not sure here.

The Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks. The reptile fancier here is in trouble for attempting to become an underage-girl fancier. He and his iguana are exiled with other pedophiles and pederasts to life under a causeway in Florida, kept at great remove from all potential victims. A local sociology professor appears and tries interviewing and organizing this community of outcasts, and with the professor the book stumbles. We the readers are told his story down to the last detail, so when a mystery springs up around him there is no mystery for us at all. Never let the air out of your drama before you have to.

The Just and the Unjust by James Gould Cozzens. This is a courtroom drama published in 1942, and is a much more modern book than I was expecting. Expert use of the language of the law, the dance of a court case, the turns along the way. Add the realism of life in a small town and you have a non-sugar-coated novel of crime, punishment, and justice. Anyone with an interest in the law should try this book.

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