Sunday, February 11, 2007

Just Read: The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes

I finished this on Thursday, but haven't managed to have anything but "blah blah" in this post since then. (I usually set up drafts with "blah blah" or something similar, to remind me to actually do a post.)

This is a collection of stories, linked thematically, by a noted literary writer. I've been reading Barnes for about a decade, I think -- as I recall, I started with A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters (which is brilliant, and still the best introduction to his work). He probably looks very non-skiffy, especially at this point, but History has a pseudo-SFnal organizing conceit, England, England is a near-future satire, and Staring at the Sun covers a hundred years and ends about thirty years in the future from when it was written. (Of course, practically any literary figure these days has similar genre-like exercises in his CV, so that doesn't mean much -- except that the literary world doesn't hate and fear SFnal ideas, as some people keep claiming.)

Anyway, this book is pretty anti-skiffy. It contains eleven stories, all of which are about aging, death, lost loves, and similar cheery topics. Most of the people who read this blog will probably be completely uninterested in it, but I quite like Barnes's writing and his people. (With any luck, I'll get to his most recent novel, Arthur and George, this year before he publishes another book, and I can get caught up.)

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