Orion Reads
a diary of books etc.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

eberhardt again

The Oblivion Seekers is a short book of very short stories by guess whom, Isabelle Eberhardt. Actually the stories are so short that they read much more like poetry to me. It's a good book. Her outlook is simultaneously exultant and grimly morbid. The stories are mostly thinly-veiled autobiography taking the form of various scenes from Isabelle's travels in North Africa. She pushes the idea that the best life of all is the life of a tramp, and seems to believe that it's society's duty to support the tramp. I'm not sure her philosophy totally holds water for me. I'm not sure i would use her philosophy to carry water from the oasis back to my tent, let's say. But. There's some very good stories about n. african life and the description is excellent. Beautiful without being purple.

Am about half way thru William Gibson's latest, Pattern Recognition. It's set in the present for a change, not even the very-near future, and employs no science fiction. Well almost none. Really it's more like magical realism than SF. Basically there's a woman who is physically allergic to successful brands. IE she puffs up and gets weird in the head when she sees the Michelin Man. She subsequently makes her very comfortable living off of this strange talent by evaluating logos for marketing firms; if she can't stand to be near it, they know it's a winner.
The plot is thickened by a mysterious film. I may be grasping here but the film aspect reminded me a lot of 'The Entertainment' from Infinite Jest. That is, a mysterious film which has sinister implications for all of society. But enough plot summary ! The bottom line is that Gibson is a Good Writer. I enjoy about half of the cyberpunk genre, but usually only for all the hip edgy ideas and action scenes. Gibson's writing on the other hand stands firm by itself without the butresses of amazing cyberpunk goodley-boo. So. Thumbs up on that.
Unfortunately i've left it at michelle's house.

Have started Murakami's Norwegian Wood. The first few pages are very nice. I'm not sure why i haven't read more Murakami, since i loved The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. It was pretty much right up my alley. Unfortunately i lost it somewhere in the bed last night, so today i'm reading Eco. Oops - just remembered i haven't real TWUP Chronicle! I read Hard-boiled Wonderland/End of the World.

Eco: I started The Name of the Rose, but have leapfrogged quickly to Foucault's Pendulum, which i definitely may not finish. Eco may simply not be for me. His floridity is not a floridity i seem to enjoy.


  • haha, egg on me.
    hadboiled wonderland was the Murakami i read previously, not the w.up bird! what a dummy. I'm thrilled to remember that there's an author out there whom i Love and pretty much haven't read at all.

    thanks for the Eco recommend; i really want to like him, so hopefully it's just a matter of finding the right entrance.
    did you like the Illuminati ? i think i may be barking up the wrong genre with Foucalt's Pendulum, as the Illuminati gave me big pussy ('pus - ee') hives.

    By Blogger good old o, at 1:21 PM  

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