Friday, July 06, 2018

White Tears

Hari Kunzru's White Tears is utter compelling. I've not read a novel as good as this one for a while. Gripping plot, complex characters, and beautiful writing combine with memorable set pieces to twist (or is it untwist) a yarn that is dyed in the history of blues in the USA. A novel that forces one to reconsider the deadly implications of cultural appropriation.

HA's recommended that I read the title story, so I bought the collection Nathan Englander's What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank to do so. The title story is as good as HA's warm recommendation. My sympathies kept shifting from one person to another as two couples drink, smoke weed, and play a parlor game that turns out to be devastating. The other stories in the collection never come close to the complexity and power of the first story, although "Peep Show" is an intriguing surrealistic turn and "The Reader" is an affecting tale, mostly because as a poet I sympathize deeply with the unfashionable author at the center of it. The final story "Free Fruit for Young Widows" has a moralistic tone, but its moral, if I read it correctly, is not to be moralistic about others' actions. Context is everything, and history, for this author, provides deep and needful context for all our present actions.

Finished watching Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010) last night. Admired the skill with which he juggled with a complicated plot involving two married couples and the other people that they become infatuated with. The theme is the illusions that help us to live. The handling of the theme curves the mouth into a smile now and then but does not really move the heart.

Before Stranger, we watched the fluffy movie Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004). Why anyone finds Hugh Grant attractive mystifies me. Colin Firth is not much better either, in this film.

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