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Showing posts from April, 2018

Book #6 Even the Dogs, Jon McGregor

I was a huge fan of Jon McGregor's debut, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, which rocked my world back in the (I choose to remember) sun-drenched and carefree days of 2002. There then followed what Coastalblog readers have come to know as The Wilderness Years when I stopped doing anything much other than working, and the memory of McGregor's classy, assured and emotionally taut writing dropped somewhat off my radar.

So it was a pleasant surprise when the Materfamilias decided to pop this in the post to her first born son, having mentioned it in passing. It was slightly less of a pleasant read, but that's more due to the subject matter rather than the writing.

Even the Dogs begins almost as a whodunit: the classic trope of a body, cooling in a flat, a tonne of questions and no answers. But it soon becomes apparent that that's not what the book is dong at all. McGregor uses this body to tease out the lives of the chaotic collection of junkies and marginalised people…

Book #5: Hocus Pocus, Kurt Vonnegut

Blimey, got a bit of catching up to do, it seems. I did actually read this a while ago (and so, all things being equal, the reviews of books 6 and 7 should be fairly hot on its heels), but a combination of busyness, technological woe and blogger being weird (my browser is NOT a fan of multiple blogs from different accounts) has meant that I've not actually got round to poor old Coastalblog for a bit.

(Coastalblog passim: it was ever thus)

Anyhow. In a shattering leap of type, I went from a tricksy novel by an American heavyweight to a tricksy novel by an American heavyweight. Though in my defence, Vonnegut has always resisted being bracketed with, well, anyone, which is rather why I like him.

Another reason for my fondness for Vonnegut is his utter disregard for the standard moral framework in which most Western novels are placed. His characters are often cheerfully, blankly amoral, and yet there is a deep and underlying humanity which makes us like to think we could identify with…