Sunday, February 29, 2004

I finished two books this weekend. The first was Pattern Recognition. I already mentioned how much I love the language in this book, but I wrote that entry about 25 pages in, before I'd gotten into the plot. The problem is that the plot is not as good as the language. There's nothing wrong with the plot, it's a perfectly decent plot, but it drew me in (as a good plot should) and soon I found myself reading to find out what happens next instead of swimming around in the language. Which is how a novel is supposed to work, I suppose - the language is only a means to deliver the plot - but I didn't get out of it what I had hoped. But it is a good book, the female protagonist doesn't suffer at all from Male Author Syndrome, and she's cunningly ageless - I think anyone from 18 to 45 could identify with her as "she's my age". Very enjoyable, and I'd read it again. I'd also read it in translation, just to see how Gibson's language is handled in translation.

The other book I read was Black Bird - Oiseau noir by Michel Basilières. I loved this book! It's a story of an unpleasant family of thieves and shady characters in 1970s felquiste Montreal. The author manages to take a story completely populated with unpleasant, unsympathetic characters, and make it into something that's amusing to read for me, and not just from a schadenfreude perspective! Basically, this book succeeds at doing what Married with Children attempted. Usually I find these kinds of characters difficult and not fun to read, but I really enjoyed this!

But that's not all - it's also full of beautiful magical realism and gorgeously subtle irony, and helped me greatly to increase my fluency in Quebecois profanity! Huge fun, made me want to keep reading (finished the 300 page book in two halves of weekend days), probably the book I've enjoyed the most since I discovered Harry Potter.

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