Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and Booked for Murder

Two very different books today.

Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius: We've had this book at home for quite a while. My husband started reading it, and went on and on about how good it was, but then he put it aside and never finished it, and I never "took over". But at long last I did, and finished it too, which is more than he did - and it's fantastic. You get thrown straight in, into the pain of watching a parent die. No time to get used to what's going to happen, to distance yourself. I can completely relate to so many of Eggers' feelings, and even to the experience of being responsible for a younger sibling (although I never did as well as he seems to have done). It is heartbreaking. (I keep typing heartbraking, which is funny and I wonder if it's a Freudian slip of some kind.) It's rare to read books where you can feel such affinity with the author. This is funny, tragic and never dull. What more could I want. I cried buckets, and laughed a lot. If my blog had actual readers I'd quote the funniest passages but as it is I can't be arsed - just trust me, zero readers, when I say this is a must-read.

About Dave Eggers from the McSweeney's website:

Val McDermid, Booked for Murder: Yay! A Lindsay Gordon mystery! I loves me some Lindsay. An American writer friend of Lindsay's is murdered in a manner she just described in her latest manuscript. Lindsay returns to the UK to investigate.

I have such a soft spot for the LG books, even though I suppose they're her weakest. A little too boxily written and focused on the gay aspect really, but hey, remember what Amanda Cross wrote? About how important it is to love the main characters? Well, I'm with Lindsay all the way. She's feminist, she's Scottish, she's a pain in the arse.

This book also features some nice digs at Sara Paretsky's mistake of selling the Warshawski film rights. It's even funnier when Paretsky praising McDermid is quoted on the cover, and when we know that Val's later books, the more serial killery/profily/gory Hill_Jordan series has been sold and televised. But Val McDermid deserves every penny she makes. Cheers to ya, Val.

Her website:


Anonymous said...

Hrmph. Non-existent reader, you say? Well, if your comment section hadn't been for Bloggers only the first time I tried, I wouldn't have given up and you would have more comments.
Good thing I decided to try now just to criticize you.
I'll be happy to borrow the Eggers book sometime...

I'll have to lend you Shriver's We need to talk about Kevin. That's one depressing read. ;-)

bani said...

I stand contrite before you. Had no idea I'd had the comment section Blogger only... silly me, eh?

Yes, you'll have to read Eggers. I don't know if I'll be able for Shriver - am currently reading Amos Oz memoirs, and they are very sad. Don't know if I can cope with more sadness... :-P

Bernadette/Finally Teatime said...

Siobhan, minns du hur jag tok-rekommenderade denna bok till dig förut? Då sa du att du bara läste deckare... men visst var den bra? Kjam!

bani said...

Jag hade fel fel fel. Och var deprimerad. Kjamiz!