Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


Rounding out the year ...

Although I no longer have something to say about every bit'o'lit read, I would be remiss were I not to say something about stand-outs among recent reading, not that I have a lot to say, these things speak for themselves, and that's saying something ...

As I mentioned on the Nab listserv, I heartily recommend George Economou's Ananios of Kleitor; my six-word synopsic is classicist palefirean excursion flauting scholyrical sapphistication , but I'll let Tim Whitmarsh do most of the talking, since he put me on to it:
What it actually is, however, is harder to define: perhaps equal parts academic parody, postmodern romance and prose poem, a kind of ancient-world equivalent of Nabokov’s Pale Fire. Some sequences are uproariously funny, but others are provocative, moving or horrifying. It draws to the surface the absurdity, myopia and arrogance of academic prose and the awful conjunctures of history and scholarship; but it is also an affectionate and humane tribute to the power of poetry to lend new meanings to new readers’ lives across the ages. A wonderful book.
This being the sort of thing I like, a lot, I did, in fact, even more. (Not more than or as much as Pale Fire, but still ... available in US PoD through B&N.)

I was also wowed by Mircea Eliade's The Old Man and the Bureaucrats (Mary Park Stevenson), which lives up to its backcover blurb: "a satire of the Romanian Communist police state [that] has been called A Thousand and One Nights as if written by Kafka." Well, not quite, unless Borges served as an intermediary; it manages to be discursive within a more confined space.

More recently, Andreï Makine's Dreams of my Russian Summers (Geoffrey Strachan) provided the impetus to resume reading Proust (chronologically situated between Lermontov and Nabokov [who englished him], as Makine observes he himself is alphabetically), which had been nipped in the budding grove ...


Blogger JAbel said...

Don't recall how I came to own a copy but I read"Dreams of my Russian Summers" when it came out in paperback some years ago and loved it.It's not the type of book I would usually pick up and I haven't read anything else by him.Interesting because Gintaras recently mentioned the book on his Tolstoy blog which I linked to through his American History blog a bunch of us migrated to when the elba version was overun by rubes.

7/1/10 00:32  

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