112921, i am reading "This I Believe" by Carlos Fuentes and "One Big Damn Puzzler"|
Posted by rob, Mon Jun-04-07 08:15 PM
the fuentes book varies a lot between "that happened to me and i can relate to it" to "highly allusive and literate," but it's certainly at least thought-provoking and touching in bits. it's a series of short essays (A to Z, kinda) on kinds of love and relationships. It's the kind of book I can talk about with people I know or to remember in conversations/situations...halfway to poetry for me perhaps.
"One Big Damn Puzzler" (by John Harding) is a "tragicomedy" about a relatively *unspoiled* group of people living on South Pacific island...the three main characters (at least POVs) are an old man on the island who's sort of the most Western-influenced (he's trying to translate Hamlet, and the only literate person from his people) and also the most anti-change (he has some secrets), the lawyer who comes from NYC to get them reparations from an American military expedition (suffers from OCD), and a British ethnographer who's been the only white person around for a year or so (she thinks she's neurotic, but I'm not feeling it). I'm about halfway in, and magical thinking + the standard themes of ethnography and commodification/culture clash seem to be the most important veins running. One person in a review said the non-island characters all seemed too village British, but I didn't get that at all...I think she was confused because half of them *were* Brits. Name drops on the book jacket include Christopher Moore, Pynchon, and Waugh....but I don't agree much with any of those comparisons.
I'm also reading "Children of Intercountry Adoptions in School" but it's for my job and not terribly interesting.