December reading

The Power, by Naomi Alderman. Thrilling in its conceit and execution. Stumbles towards the end (and what ambitious book doesn’t). Nice to see an interesting short frame device (the letters) in popular fiction.

News of the World, by Paulette Jiles. It is a simple and almost maudlin story, shades of and homage to True Grit, but the violent reality of 1870s Texas leaves you feeling like each turn of the page has plucked a hair off your head and turned two more gray.

Eileen, by Ottessa Moshfegh. So cranky, so different. The prose makes you keep reading even as the throbbing gristle of a book makes you want to put it down.

Artemis, by Andy Weir. Almost unreadable. After his success with The Martian, you can just see his agent telling him to write a star vehicle for Jennifer Lawrence or Emily Blunt. Basically a screenplay for a bad Hollywood movie. With lots of explosions and cliffhangers. Oh look, I was right, the movie deal was in the works even before the book came out.


About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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