Thursday, October 27, 2011

A ticket to Buffalo

I fear I am about to explode from stress at the amount of work I need to get done in the next four days in and around other commitments!

Finished Colson Whitehead's Zone One.  The writing is incredibly sharp, and I loved the first third or so, but I found my enthusiasm slightly cooling due to relative lack of plot.  I definitely still recommend it, but not as passionately as I might have on the basis of early passages like this one:
There were your standard-issue skels, and then there were the stragglers.  Most skels, they moved.  They came to eat you--not all of you, but a nice chomp here or there, enough to pass on the plague.  Cut off their feet, chop off their legs, and they'd gnash the air as they heaved themselves forward by their splintered fingernails, looking for some ankle action.  The marines had eliminated most of this variety before the sweepers arrived.
The stragglers, on the other hand, did not move, and that's what made them a suitable objective for civilian units.  They were a succession of imponderable tableaux, the malfunctioning stragglers and the places they chose to haunt throughout the Zone and beyond.  An army of mannequins, limbs adjusted by an inscrutable hand.  The former shrink, plague-blind, sat in her requisite lounge chair, feet up on the ottoman, blank attentive face waiting for the patient who was late, ever late, and unpacking the reasons for this would consume a large portion of a session that would never occur.  The patient failed to arrive, was quite tardy, was dead, was running through a swamp with a hatchet, pursued by monsters.  The pock-faced assistant manager of the shoe store crouched before the foot-measuring instrument, frozen, sans customers, the left shoes of his bountiful stock on display along the walls of the shop on miniature plastic ledges.  The vitamin-store clerk stalled out among the aisles, depleted among the plenty, the tiny bottles containing gel-capped ancient remedies and placebos.  The owner of the plant store dipped her fingers into the soil of a pot earmarked for a city plant, one hearty in the way the shop's customers were hearty, for wasn't every citizen on the grand island a sort of sturdy indoor variety that didn't need much sunlight. . . .
Anyway, it is very lovely writing, in a hybrid satirical-elegiac vein.

Also, and this really was the perfect light reading, the first installment of Denise Mina's new series, Still Midnight, which really is pretty much exactly what I most enjoy in this vein.  Unfortunately I purchased that and its sequel in haste without realizing that I had already read The End of the Wasp Season - I had it in the form of a 'real' book, and even the Amazon website is not capable of telling me that I bought a paper version of the book at a Chapters in Ottawa in June!  (If memory serves...)

No comments:

Post a Comment