Monday, September 04, 2006

It is a red-letter day

here at Light Reading because this week's Digested Read at the Guardian is--Dick Francis's new novel! ("It was good that people no longer stared at my prosthetic arm, even though I still felt the need to mention it every 10 pages.") (Here were my thoughts in July.)

I am always interested in the style aspect of these things (that John Crace is pretty much a genius), but I note here as in the case of his Jilly Cooper one in the spring that the novels in question are written in something almost like self-parody already, and that there's not much he can do to make the style either more ludicrous or less appealing than it actually is. If you like this kind of book, which I do (I love Jilly Cooper and Dick Francis), reading one of these will not at all stop you from wanting to devour the exemplar. The books that respond really well to this treatment are the ones with pretension or where the author has some character flaw (usually self-absorption or narcissism) that mars an otherwise more or less intelligent narrative.

(Thank goodness for overseas book news, August is always a wretchedly slow month for interesting literary news and I hate the way the Labor Day holiday basically makes there be nothing interesting to read in the papers. When I looked at the New York Times this morning the main story with the picture on the front page was Australia's 'Crocodile Hunter' Killed by Stingray. Which is a sad tale, but still....)

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