Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cleansing the (Book) Palate

I just finished reading "Love in the Time of Cholera", not because it is an Oprah pick since I have had the book on my shelf for many years, but because I want to read the book before I see the movie that comes out this week. I woke up at 9:30 this morning and did one of my favorite things- rolled over and grabbed my glasses, snuggled back under the covers and read for an hour.

Now the last book I read was "The Big Girls" by Susanna Moore. These two books could not be more opposite. THB is set in modern time at a woman's prison in Mew Jersey close to Manahattan and in Hollywood. It covers perhaps the span of a year or so. It is written without chapters, just space breaks. Each space break marks the beginning of new voice narrating his or her story. The prose is bare bones. Brittle but full of life.

LITTOC is set in the Caribbean in the nineteenth century. The book is broken into extremely long chapters and covers over fifty years. The language is lush and told from an omniscient narrator. It was interesting to see how he moved between characters and how he manipulated time. You had to read closely for fear of losing the thread of character and/or time. Even the covers couldn't be more different. TBG is black and white, mirror images of a photo of a key, sans serif type. LITTOC, on the copy I have, is a painting of a nude woman reclined on purple divan, flowers covering her in strategic places, lush foliage surrounding her, warm, bright colors, serif type.

"The Kite Runner" is next on my list but I find I can't rush into another novel. So I am reading "No One Belongs Here More than You" by Miranda July and will watch her movie this weekend. Again, the voice and tone is so opposite of LITTOC, it is like cleansing my palate between books.

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