After 2666 and The Crimson Petal and The White, both of which were hefty novels, I found myself drawn to familiar shorter reads and so I blasted through them with relief and a new perspective.
The Dark Half by Stephen King.
It’s not as renowned as the likes of Carrie or Salems Lot, although it was made into a proficient movie with a great performance by Timothy Hutton. It’s a great book, in that it touches on personal and professional themes of art, alcoholism, personality and it’s handling of the supernatural/biological force of antagonism is effective in not being too defined.
I’d like to see more of Alexis Machine because the idea of King channeling Derek Raymond’s Factory novels would be fascinating. In fact, I sometimes consider it myself, because you might think that you’re reading something hardboiled, but I Was Dora Suarez was utterly horrific in it’s bleakness and apathy.
King’s never done me wrong, I was reading him in my early teens and I still love his work. Even his bad stuff is interesting and he’s pragmatic and refreshingly honest about his flaws and foibles.
Rant by Chuck Palahniuk
Chuck Palahniuk is inconsistent, unique and yet his misses are as interesting as his hits. Rant is one of the books that represents him at his peak, although I haven’t read his Afterlife books mainly because Pygmy felt like a literary fuck you( although I will give it another chance)
Rant, to me, is the purest example of slipstream fiction. Without spoiling it for you (because only assholes do that), it has some central ideas and concepts that are marvellously played out over the last act of the story. It also contains some of his most beautiful phrasing and structure.
You can tell a Palahniuk book, and he’s similar to King in his pragmatism and disarming honesty. He’s not slagging off people on twitter, he’s getting the work done and maintaining a loyal audience of readers, myself included.
Next up is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro as well as writing this book.