Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A New Yorker cartoon wrapped around a knife

M. John Harrison's top ten books linking the individual to the universal, at the Guardian. I know that one or two of these are not to my taste, but it's an amazing-looking list, full of books I haven't read; hmmm, maybe a good summer reading project, I should get them all from the library and see which ones appeal...

I've got sort of a love-hate relationship with metaphysical fiction; I would have liked it more when I was a teenager (this is a list that would have had me salivating at age fifteen), now I prefer my books less mystical and with more of a sense of humor, and yet there's no doubt that the intellectual ambition of an Iain Sinclair or an M. John Harrison for that matter pretty much beats almost everything else that's out there. If I was leading an alternate life, in other words, I would be writing some very strange and vaguely Sebaldian books with a strong metaphysical streak! Clearly I am going to have to write one anyway--but in this life I am not actually going to go and (I am thinking of those wonderful Phil Rickman books!) walk along ley lines and write demented New Age supernatural intellectual histories with an Arthurian tint. (Just as well, you are thinking; but wouldn't it be kind of insanely appealing?)

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