Monday, May 10, 2010

Three Old Men, or Why Random Selection is Anything But!

I have all my books spread around the house, and most of the ARC's I get are mixed in with my own purchased titles.  So when I'm in the mood for a new book, I usually just pick a random mix, and keep one in my car, another by my desk and one on the nightstand.  So despite the random nature, I ended up with a strangely united selection of dying old men.  First is a book of poetry called Winter Garden by Pablo Neruda (a lovely collection, and he's classy and poignant as always), then Siamese by Stig Saeterbakken (a novel), and finally The Abyss of Human Illusion by Gilbert Sorrentino (short essays and perceptions).  While the tone and content is completely different on all of them, they are similar in that all are the words of dying older men (sadly, in real life in two out of three of the titles).  Somehow I feel like I'm visiting a bizarre rest home of especially profound, expressive and nuanced men...I imagine they'd drive the nurses wild with their prose (except Edwin, they'd run for their lives on soft, padded soles). 

Anyway, because of the surreal nature of reading all three at once, I'm going to put two away and finish Neruda and start with some other voices for now:  Linda Olsson's Sonata for Miriam (she wrote my beloved Astrid & Veronika) and Jo Nesbo's The Redbreast.  I think this will not only refresh me but make reviewing easier.  Reading the three men together diluted the impact of each one individually, and made them sort of morph together. 

My review of Neruda's Winter Garden is coming soon.  He's as lovely as ever, and exhibits the strangest combination of insight without self-pity, and composure balanced with emotion.  He must have been fascinating to be around.

1 comment:

  1. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Neruda and his poems. I'm not a poetry person but his name has been popping up for me lately so maybe that's a sign.