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Showing posts from October, 2012

The Quiet Girl by Peter Høeg

With the publication of Høeg's latest, The Elephant Keeper's Children, came a timely reminder that I had so far neglected his often disparaged 2006 "thriller". This may be a tiresome refrain, but it had been on the shelves for quite some time (since approximately2006 in fact) and looked off-puttingly drizzle-grey, conjuring images of prose of vague beauty and uncrackable intellectualism, coupled with only a dizzy hint of narrative and mostly confusing characters. Of course, this is written with hindsight, so most of my now fully formed thoughts are informed by one particular review I read before starting, that of the much enjoyed Bookslut which one may read by clicking on the disturbing moniker so indicated.

Of course, regular readers (oh ho! More tired self-deprecation approaching - the plural noun there is probably redundant) of mine will understand that, as Aristotle puts it, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepti…

Metaliterature on Hiatus

Metaliterature is taking a break. Not a long one, and not by choice. You see, the Literature family, (Meta, Children's, Challenging Women's and Pet Care Literature) is moving home, and all of the family's library has been packed into discrete but very similar boxes with no obvious markings thereupon. Thus, I am in the startling position that I actually have nothing to read! 
We should be in and unpacked for December 2012* so normal service will be resumed once I've found where I put the latest Will Self novel.

In the meantime, there is a last hurrah on the horizon, what with Peter Høeg due a punt imminently, so don't go too far now, y'hear? 


*Realistically, July 2013...

Lazarus Is Dead by Richard Beard

All is not what it seems with Richard Beard and his writing. Taken on a primary level, as I do with most novels, Lazarus...is a slightly dry, mostly comic portrayal of an interpretation of the life of Lazarus, interspersed with "fact" taken and / or extrapolated fromvarious sources, including the Gospel of John, various Renaissance paintings and the like. My wife, being an intelligent, literate and generally >170 IQ type person, quickly identified that this book was clearly not just a simple imagined biography.

I think the exchange went something like this:

She - Oh.
Me - Wassat?
She - Reminds me of Raymond Queneau and those chaps*.
Me - Exercises in Style Raymond Queneau?
She - Hm-hm, and the Oulipo bunch**.
Me - Aren't they a Romanian football team?


After her withering look and sigh of disgust, of course I rushed immediately*** to the library**** to check out Oulipo (or Ouvroir de littérature potentielle) and what that meant in context. I was none the wiser.

Me - You've …

Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

In retrospect, it is a fool’s errand to attempt to review one of a series of books, especially when earlier volumes have been given the old sacred cow slaying once before, thus outlining the particular themes and devices used by the author and the singular characteristics of the recurring character(s). Indeed, Dexter is now a household name, thanks to the popular Showtime series, and as such it is difficult to find a new angle amidst the entropy of my particular system. If one is aware of the main conceit, the only other areas of discussion are plot or style related. Therefore, after a cursory attempt to put across what is new or what continues to be good / bad in this, the sixth volume of the series, I might take the opportunity to digress.


Dexter is still alive and practising his dark arts in the Miami district, all the while maintaining his double existence as a forensic geek at Miami Metro PD. Curiously, in this volume, he doesn't get to do much killing, although it doesn't…

Metaliterature - what meaning to have is this for meaning?

Not a review this time, more of a curiosity. It seems I'm receiving lots of hits from Russia (Здравствуйте России!) from people searching for the definition of "metaliterature". As such, it is something of a bespoke word, created to fit a need and probably not yet recognized outside literary theory / criticism circles (Merriam-Webster Online certainly don't like it). I was wondering what they typed in to end up here, so, for fun (it's not fun, sorry) I thought I'd bung it in Google Translate and see what came out. As it turns out, one needs a little hyphen for the rather ponderous machine to understand it, and even then only does half the job (meta seems to be meta in any language). 
Incidentally, below is, ironically, a Google Chrome Thesaurus definition* of "meta":

met·a Adjective/ˈmetə/
(of a creative work) Referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referentialInterestingly (not interesting, sorry) it says this for the full term, t…