Sunday, February 12, 2012

Resolution Update #5.

On with the actual, physical page-turners whose pages have been turned. One hundred pages a day through:

Clockers by Richard Price. Speaking about creating dodgy characters we genuinely root for even in their misbehaviors, Richard Price is a master. And I don't know how many decades he's spent hanging out with cops, but he has their side of the story down, too. Ferociously paced, filled with real people rather than types, the business language of both sides of the urban street shines through. The only problem with this book is it made me long for gummy bears...

by Harry Mathews. This book grew on me as it went along, but at the end of the day there is a schtick here and it didn't quite win me over. Each chapter is about the relationship between two of a host of characters, and the book covers several decades with these stories out of sequence. All fine and large, but the episodic nature and the time shifts didn't seem to cohere quite enough. Add the sin of having three female characters all with polysyllabic names beginning with "P" and I feel taxed to keep it all in my head. I may re-read it with the stories in sequence and see how it fares.

Paterson by William Carlos Williams. Blame it on my meager familiarity with poetry. Blame it on an unhappy encounter with one of WCW's grocery-list poems in high school. Whatever it is, this doesn't work for me. This is poetry interspersed with letters and bits of the history of Paterson, New Jersey. I seem to be finding a lot of books lately that have Fancy Writer Tricks, and I haven't seen one that works. But then, maybe this is just poetry and I'm a barbarian. Fair enough. But even when a city is named the main character of a book, I'm not going to perk up until it catches fire or runs off with the mailman or Does Something.

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